NaPoWriMo Day 23: The Separation Continues

Today’s prompt was to find a poem in a foreign language that we do not understand and to write a poem based on what we imagine that poem might mean. I’ve placed my “translation” first. The Croatian poem I translated is below it.


Pry back the blackness spread over the flattened
world, using the voice of poetry for your rake—
poetry no traveler can understand or translate.
Poetry no one knows the cost of—neither
posted propaganda nor cheap
joke, but rather words to soothe bad
kisses or portraits of topless women,
naked out of necessity
for a piece of bread or for a
drink: cheap vodka or blackberry wine. Yes,
this afternoon, crossing the tavern where love died,
and, coincidentally, where he first knew he loved me,
I tasted the rich baklava I used to serve him,
and we raised a glass to him
who will never write poetry again.

2014, Judy Dykstra-Brown



prije nego li sjednem za ovaj
stol, oprat ću ruke, poezija
ne trpi traktate o sebi, za-
gristi svježu kost, ona ne
dopušta da propadne u barutu
jezika, prahu i bromu to malo
kiše, potražit ću toplu ženu,
jer nijednu riječ nikada nećeš
dodirnuti da te ona ne pita o
sebi, zatvoriti oči, zaroniti, i,
tada, kreću s tavana svi mrtvi,
iz začuđenih usta isplove crni
ozbiljni barkaroli i širokim
zamasima pjevaju glasno
nad otvorima neba

© 1998, Miroslav Mićanović

2 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day 23: The Separation Continues

  1. okeating

    Interesting instincts. Did you deliberately pick a poem that referenced poetry or was that coincidence? I trust you’ve translated the original since you finished the challenge?


    1. grieflessons Post author

      Actually, I hadn’t read the translation until now. Didn’t want to read it before I wrote and right after I wrote the “translation,” my internet went on the blink and I haven’t had it all day. So yes, it was a coincidence. And, the only word I translated correctly was poetry. It is now 11:35 PM and I just got on the internet (at home) for the first time. Had to go to an internet cafe to post my poem. Here is a link for the translation:



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