Zion, the Midnight Tree Goddess
There is night emerging beyond our garden path standing near Zion
her branches end starvation of tidal-locked, structured souls
in her drunkenness, in her leaves, we grow old, regaling our wonder
There is night emerging beyond our garden: lavender scented foresight
in deeds defined as barren, fallen branches lie apart from her sullen trunk
night reveals, night compels gorging on unripen fruit in solitude
Last stand under stars of this cosmos. Ruminating over severed gardens
one last man demands the wooden goddess to tell him of the other souls
in the world. In gruff, even monotone, even miserly tone came her reply
Dancing the same, even, rooted hug-and-sway. She let him know that
her severed night emerged beyond our understanding, even she, Zion: to deceive them
is to be stranded among the river of stars, to intersect brooding night alone
Paralyzed by light-governed dark, synapses break like glass vessels
alone then / alone now, lonely then / lonely now
untended as broken branches.
Written for NaPoWriMo’s Day 5 prompt:
Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English translation (maybe cover it up, or cut-and-paste the original into a new document). Now start translating the poem into English, 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. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.
Weird places indeed! That was certainly challenging (and at times frustrating), but I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m pretty chill with the result.
The poem I chose is titled, rather fittingly, A Big Bang, by Runa Svetlikova. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the actual English translation is far more optimistic than my fake one.