I love today’s prompt. The challenge put for at NaPoWriMo.net was to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph and then find a poem in another language, ignoring any accompanying English translation. Write with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph.
I picked an untitled, Dutch poem with no author (that I could find) and used the photo of the cat below. I noticed some words seemed to suggest an English counterpart, while other times it was the rhythm or look of a line that caused me to “translate”. A cool experiment, and one I would definitely try again with a longer piece.
Natuurlijk moest je nog lang niet
dood, dat wist ik best, maar hijdiede liedjes
zingt voor de hazen en beren waarin hij vertelt
hoe hij ze heft geschoten, was juist begonnen
het jouwe te maken, ik kon het
horen in mijn hoof, pieng
pong¸ de eerste,
voor zichtige tonen.
Nature made cats so the dead can
speak, messages sent through a thrum in the chest,
the glint of a green eye catching moonlight
like a hurried mouse, the faint paw print
marking fresh snow, the quick flick
of impatient tails, meow,
yowl, they say, meaning,
we never left.