Thursday, February 19, 2009

774. Night Morning - Grace Paley

To translate a poem
from thinking
into English
takes all night
night nights and days

English down
the best it can while
the mother's tongue Russian
omits the verb to be
again and again and
is always interfering
with the excited in-
dustrious brain wisely
the heart's beat asserts

also the newest English
argues with its old
singing ancestry
it thinks it know best

finally the night's
hard labor peers through
the morning window observes
snow birds the sun caught
in white and black winter
birches disentangles itself
addresses the ice-cold meadow
for hours on the beauty of
the color green