Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Adam Wiedemann: Carp 1

At the sight of a carp the girls say ah
at the sight of carp that didn’t get far.
At the sight of a cat of a cow because now it’s not the girls
saying can’t you hear it, when the milk spills?

Sight spills upon sight, we look with sight,
sight presents the moon, ah, if only the moon
were the sight, not a lost penny. I’m not
yet a penny that you lose, not

the sight you’ll ask for.
I’m the moon that fell asleep in the pond,
I’m the carp that in absolute silence
the moon swallows, that’s your absolute sight.
I’m a sight swallowed by a carp.
At the sight of a carp I don’t know what you ask.
I’m an instrument lurking in a pond,
I would prefer you not to live, I’d prefer that

you ask for five special gold pennies,
which I won’t have saved since I’m a fisherman
who eats catches as long as the carp live,
and when he catches nothing he tells the cow,

which has no why to lend him, since it
doesn’t give itself the milk the tomcat lives on
because even in a pond there isn’t enough moon
to feed a carp with a tomcat on its head.

Tr. Marit MacArthur & Barbara Kopec-Umiastkowska (from Polish). I don't know if the original reads this brilliantly: the translation is a near-perfect mix of fairy-tale mystery and fairy-tale doggerel.

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