Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wilbur's "First Snow in Alsace" and my Homolinguistic Translation

First Snow in Alsace

The snow came down last night like moths
Burned on the moon; it fell till dawn,
Covered the town with simple cloths.

Absolute snow lies rumpled on
What shellbursts scattered and deranged,
Entangled railings, crevassed lawn.

As if it did not know they'd changed,
Snow smoothly clasps the roofs of homes
Fear-gutted, trustless and estranged.

The ration stacks are milky domes;
Across the ammunition pile
The snow has climbed in sparkling combs.

You think: beyond the town a mile
Or two, this snowfall fills the eyes
Of soldiers dead a little while.

Persons and persons in disguise,
Walking the new air white and fine,
Trade glances quick with shared surprise.

At children's windows, heaped, benign,
As always, winter shines the most,
And frost makes marvelous designs.

The night guard coming from his post,
Ten first-snows back in thought, walks slow
And warms him with a boyish boast:

He was the first to see the snow.


Worst Blow In All Space
(Homolinguistic Translation)

The whole blamed frown dashes light eyeballs,
Turns on the spoon. In hell will yawn
A mother’s gown in dimpled draughts.

A resolute crow’s cries crumble dawn,
Catch walpurgisknackered glands and strains;
Pentangled whales eat red-assed prawns.

Indifferent blows, gray chains,
Glow loosely, rattling tools and tomes,
Beer-gutted hussies kicking frames.

The ashen tracks, war kilt and bones,
Agnostic yams on fishstick trial,
Grow fat inside the hearts of gnomes.

A wink, the pond, are down the pipe:
The flue, half full with pills and pies
Rubs boulders wet with tripping wire.

Versions of turbans swim under thighs,
Stalking the blue bear’s hide through time,
While manxome dances lick her mind.

Quill pens wallow, steeped in brine,
Pressed in hallways thin with ghosts,
A cross of snakes and husky pines.

The bright shard’s roaming over toast
And burst globes clap in local shows:
Warm worms entombed with overcoats,

And knees in dirt with feet that know.

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