“Today’s prompt (optional, as always), is an oldie-but-a-goodie: the homophonic translation. Find a poem in a language you don’t know, and translate it into English based on the look of the words and their sounds.”
I picked an Icelandic poem, in some cases picking English words based on the way I thought the Icelandic words sounded, in other cases, using substitutes that made sense to me. The result is a bit weird, but that is the fun of these exercises. You write things you never would have written, otherwise.
Here is the Icelandic poem:
Ég reyni að vera
alúðleg við börnin
svo þau hirði um leiðið mitt
þegar þar að kemur
mylji köku ofan í grasið
á afmælinu mínu
og fari með ljóðið um
þá sjálf orðin gömul og grá
Samt á ég eftir að
þekkja þau aftur
á himneskri húsalyktinni
alltaf skulu þau ilma eins og Jesúbarnið
by Gerður Kristný
The Queen of Truth
looks after her children,
herds them away from lies.
She pegs each comer miles off,
approaching the altar of her grace.
She says, you are family. You are mine.
You’ve feared me at times,
my finger in the corner of your eye,
drawing your gaze,
not letting you settle into comfort.
I will ordain you, you will gamely offer up your gratitude.
So that after that-
you won’t want to peck away at lies any longer.
You will sing hymns and hosannas to truth,
knowing that is what the universe wants.
That is what makes you healthy. That is what makes you whole.