Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Community logo


runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)


 
deepwaters Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


It’s Only Sound that Remains*
]By Forough Farrokhzad
(from her last (unfinished) volume of poetry: Believe In The Cold Season)


Why should I stop, why?
Birds have left in search of a curve of water
the horizon is vertical
the horizon is vertical and the movement – fountain-like,
in the limits of eyesight
glowing planets are spinning,
in height, the earth reaches reiteration
and the air burrows
become warrens of connection,
and day is an expanse
not contained in the taut imagination of a paper worm.

Why should I stop?
The path passes through the capillaries of life,
quality of the cultivation turf of moon’s womb
will kill the rotten cells
and in the chemical environment after sunrise
there is only sound
sound that will be absorbed by the morsels of time.

Why should I stop?
What can a swamp be
what can it be other than a space for spawning for festering insects
a morgue’s thoughts are directed by the bloated corpses
a rogue, in the darkness
has hidden his lack of manliness
and the cockroach….ah
when the cockroach speaks.

Why should I stop?
The collaboration of letters made of lead is useless
the collaboration of lead letters
will not save trivial thoughts
I am from the line of trees
breathing the stale air depresses me
a dead bird advised me to remember flight
the finale of all forces is connection, a connection
to the bright origin of the sun
and a discharge into the light’s consciousness,
it is only natural
that wind mills decay.

Why should I stop?
I hold the unripe bundles
of wheat under my breasts
to suckle
sound, sound, only sound
the sound of water’s transparent desire to flow
the sound of a star’s light pouring on the membrane of soil’s womb
the sound of insemination to form the fetus of “meaning”
and the expansion of the common conscious of love
sound, sound, sound, it is only sound that remains,
in the land of midgets
the standards of measure
have always traveled on the axis of zero.

Why should I stop?
I obey the four elements
and inscribing the constitution of my heart
is not the job of local governments of the blind.

What is it to me
the long howl of the wild
in the sexual organ of “animal”
what is it to me
the humble movement of the worm in the fleshy void
I am committed to live by the bloody lineage of flowers
the bloody lineage of flowers, you know?




* If some of you remember my piece "It's Only Apple that Remains", it was an homage to Forough.


Last edited by deepwaters, Jan/1/2011, 3:48 pm
Jan/1/2011, 3:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user (premium)

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Wow! How does she do it, Shab? How did she do it? This kind of body thinking, thinking with the body, doesn't seem possible. But there it is. I am hooked by the poem's second line, loving its image-notion. I am also loving the poem's unruliness, not carelessness, but unruliness in the way, say, biology at first appears unruly until you've figured out its inside logic. That is it. That is the big thing coming through on a first reading. The inside logic the poem keeps to while constantly branching off. I am equally loving the poem's earthiness, its vegetativeness, its fecundity. It is as if the earth herself is speaking her mind as she gets hurled through space. What a thinker Forough must have been. I want to say a soma-thinker.

She all but proves the point of my recent poem, When the Body Knows No Politics. Only, her way of bodying out the insistence is deeper, fleshier.

Every time you show us a new Forough poem I am blown away. It seems inconceivable that any poet, any thinker, man or woman, can take in existence this way. And not a wasted line. Practically every one stops me, jerks my head around. This is so what the scene needs in America. The poetry scene. You are lucky to have such a poet in your ken of things. I've said before it is as if you are channeling her. Now I need to read the poem several times more.

Tere
Jan/1/2011, 4:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Tere-
Thank you for commenting. To me, this is such a dense poem, and I wasn't sure I would be able to get this one done. I am glad it works at some level.

By the way, I found a translation of the same poem after I was done with mine. I make a point not to read any translations of the pieces I am working on. In case you are interested, #itisonly]it is here.

I know what you mean about the unruliness. This one is from a volume of a poetry that remained unfinished. I keep wondering whether she was really done with it. Not because of the unruliness, but that the poem seems almost out of breath, if that makes any sense.

Thanks again.
-s
Jan/2/2011, 2:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Hi Shab,

So good to see you translating Forough again. I do remember "It's Only Apple that Remains." One of my favorite poems of yours. Now, having read this and other translations you've posted, puts it in a new context.

I have read this translation several times and will need to read it several more before I can make any specific comments. I think I know what you mean when you say "the poem seems almost out of breath." To me, it has a certain supercharged quality. Not quite manic but something high stakes, racheted up and unsettling.
Jan/5/2011, 1:22 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user (premium)

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Shab, here is the thing. I am rather hoping the unruliness, as I call it, or the breathless quality, as you call it, in fact is deliberate, the consequence of crafting. The possibility comes through as quite attractive. Engaging. This is going to sound sexist. If taken as such I'll take my licks in advance. Somewhere, in some specimen of writing, I can't remember where, I use the phrase: as beautiful as an artfully dishevelved woman. Flamenco teaches me that, in art, there is a place for such beauty. A place possibly of greater value than the surface perfection of form. I don't know. It is possible that Forough, classically trained in the Persian tradition, was getting to where she was wanting to break out, or break through, to something closer to fine, to use a phrase from an Indigo Girls song. The more I think on her poetry the more I think there is a stylistic evolution at play.

Now if I can just find my misplaced, second favorite Cross mechanical pencil. Hate it when that happens. It tells me I am distracted.

Tere
Jan/5/2011, 7:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Hi Shab,

My apologizes for taking so long to get back to this translation. I hope you are still coming around from time to time!

I haven't read the other translation you linked to yet as I want to deal first with what you have offered. To me, this Forough poem is one of the most difficult so far, so bear that in mind as you read my comments.

S1: Vastness, repetition, movement come through. I really like: "the taut imagination of a paper worm."

S2: I'm stumped by this line: "quality of the cultivation turf of moon’s womb" but like the last two lines.

S3: Now we are entering the heart of darkness. "what can it be other than a space for spawning for festering insects" perhaps: "what can it be other than a spawning space for festering insects" ?

S4: Pivotal stanza where the N begins to reveal more about herself. Really like: "the finale of all forces is connection"

S5: Development of the sound theme in earnest. Not quite sure what this line means: "and the expansion of the common conscious of love" Like the ending lines.

S6: Bam!

S7: Wow. This is where the intellectual and the emotional, the totality of F's perceptions come through. Really love the final "you know?"

I am going to reread this version and then check out the other version you linked to. Would love to hear your thoughts on this poem and on the process of translating it so far.




Last edited by Katlin, Jan/19/2011, 2:00 pm
Jan/19/2011, 1:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Okay, I read the translation you linked to. Shab, I honestly think your version is much better in many ways. You've captured more of the mystery and complexity in Forough, for one big thing, but your version also just flat out reads better. The rhythm and word choices are all stronger as well, IMO. You've put of your poetic heart and talent in service to hers in these translations, and it shows.
Jan/19/2011, 2:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
deepwaters Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


I am so sorry for having missed your comments, Kat and Tere. I am responding now. It might take me a while. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
-s
Feb/17/2011, 1:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
deepwaters Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Tere-

You make an excellent point. In fact, I have gone back and slightly edited the poem (not posted the edited version yet). Following your comment, my sister wrote to me about this passage, focusing on the highlighted parts:

Why should I stop?
The collaboration of letters made of lead is useless
the collaboration of lead letters
will not save trivial thoughts
I am from the line of trees
breathing the stale air depresses me

In the original, the two are repetitions – “collaboration of lead letters.“ She was pointing out that the repetition allows for the tumultuousness of the poem, and is in tune with the meaning and the rhythm that she creates; there is an intensity that it creates. My problem was that I felt “collaboration of lead letters” in its first introduction might just confuse the reader. My point is that, after re-and-re-reading the poem, I understand your point better. Thank you for that.
-shab
Feb/17/2011, 3:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
deepwaters Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Kat-

Thank you for your detailed comments.

To me, this Forough poem is one of the most difficult so far, so bear that in mind as you read my comments.
I absolutely agree with you. I do think this has been the most difficult for me to work on, as well.

S1: Vastness, repetition, movement come through. I really like: "the taut imagination of a paper worm."
I am so glad it works.

S2: I'm stumped by this line: "quality of the cultivation turf of moon’s womb" but like the last two lines.
I know what you mean. It is not easily understood in Farsi either. I am working on it.

S3: Now we are entering the heart of darkness. "what can it be other than a space for spawning for festering insects" perhaps: "what can it be other than a spawning space for festering insects" ?
Yes, I like that. Thank you.

S4: Pivotal stanza where the N begins to reveal more about herself. Really like: "the finale of all forces is connection"
I have been rethinking the use of “connection” there for the following reason. I think what she really means is “to join.” I think she means smaller things “joining” a larger thing, in which the movement is in one direction. As opposed to two equal beings connecting. But then two equal things can join, as well. Hm. I am not sure what I am saying or looking for makes ay sense.

S5: Development of the sound theme in earnest. Not quite sure what this line means: "and the expansion of the common conscious of love" Like the ending lines.
I think it means is that love has a mind, a consciousness if you will, that is common to all, and it is this consciousness that expands. Not sure if I helped.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this poem and on the process of translating it so far.
This was a tough one. What I did was read the original a couple of times, and then just write down the lines without worrying about the rhythm, the poetic sense. Just meaning.
Then, I went back and cleaned it up, trying to keep her voice in my head and letting the poem speak for itself. I also had trouble understanding a couple of places, which I had not noticed until I started translating emoticon I had some long talks with my sister over the meaning too.
 
Okay, I read the translation you linked to. Shab, I honestly think your version is much better in many ways.
Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.
-s
Feb/17/2011, 3:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: It's Only Sound that Remains (Forough)


Hi Shab,

Lovely to see you again!

I have been rethinking the use of “connection” there for the following reason. I think what she really means is “to join.” I think she means smaller things “joining” a larger thing, in which the movement is in one direction. As opposed to two equal beings connecting. But then two equal things can join, as well. Hm. I am not sure what I am saying or looking for makes ay sense.

Maybe something more along the lines of merger? I thought of union, but that sort of sounds like a connection between equals too.

I think it means is that love has a mind, a consciousness if you will, that is common to all, and it is this consciousness that expands. Not sure if I helped.

Yes, that does help. Instead of saying:

"and the expansion of the common conscious of love"

would it be too many syllables or too concrete to say:

"and the expansion of the common consciousness of love"?
  
Then, I went back and cleaned it up, trying to keep her voice in my head and letting the poem speak for itself. I also had trouble understanding a couple of places, which I had not noticed until I started translating

Now you've got me thinking about how hard it must be to translate all the unclear, mysterious places most poems contain! It's great that you have your sister as a sounding board for these translations. We do our best, but English-only speakers like Tere and myself can only offer so much by way of critique.


 

Feb/21/2011, 9:59 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)