Sunday, February 17, 2008

ghazal: "gained in translation"

None dispute lots can be lost   but some can be gained in translation
certainly large looms the cost   yet strands are sustained in translation

stars find translation through earth   astrology charts out the method
bridges are built to be crossed   a journey explained in translation

love we translate as desire   a version at times one finds wanting
death gets recast as a ghost   aversion grows pained in translation

facts are translated as fiction   fictions return the good favor
lack you translate as a boast   my waxing has waned in translation

sculptors rely on lost wax   the fragile translates to the sturdy
memories pondered by Proust   large volumes unrein   in translation

the rendering dubbed "Raphael"   is that   an original work?
bread upon waters when cast   lost soul is regained in translation


My first blog post in a long time! Generally these days I'm writing poetry in a physical notebook, by pen. But this ghazal has a long line, and the idea for it occurred while online (at an internet cafe) -- and so I've here returned to an old (former) custom of writing online, directly in the blog space.

Baroda afternoon



"lost wax" (in couplet 5): -- a technical term related to a careful and interesting process (dating from the Renaissance if not perhaps earlier) in which a wax version of the sculptural work is lost, and a bronze (or other metallic) version is, in end, gained.

When I saw the title of one of the upcoming poetry presentations at the Prithvi Theatre (happening in Bombay, 17th Feb. -- I can't be there; but see: Gained in Translation), I immediately composed the first couplet, above; and from that flows the rest of the ghazal.


Laju K. said...

Hi David,

"Gained in Translation" is definitely optimistic compared to "Lost in Translation." Though even that is known to happen, just as you've written. Translating love into desire is only one translation. Thanks.
Best, Laju K.

David Raphael Israel said...

Long-belated thanks for your remarks, Laju.