NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 6)

Today’s assignment: After reading a poem in a language I don’t know (at, I was to think about the sound and shape of the words in the poem and the degree to which they reminded me of words in English. Then, I was to use those correspondences as the basis for the new poem I was to write (in my native language).

Like most patriotic Americans, I am monolingual (he said, sarcastically). I try to enjoy prompts involving other languages. My Mexican friend, Edith Blackbird Fly, uses them often. I did not have time to request use of one of her poems.

My first experience with other languages was Latin (grew up in the Catholic [Latin Mass & some prayers] Church). I heard a lot of Czech and Polish spoken by friend’s grandparents, but not passed down generationally. I did not do well in the French I took in high school. I took German in College (groan) and several Spanish/Tex-Mex less formal adult ed classes.

I could not find a poem on the Poetry International page, so I found one on another site. Not easy since everyone wants to translate for me. I chose a Spanish poem by Douglas Wright, a famous writer of children’s poetry from Argentina. I didn’t know it was a children’s poem until I had finished mine.

Ok, I did the “sound and shape of the words” part and ended up with a somewhat goofy “poem.” It’s okay to laugh, but please don’t point. Below are first, Wright’s poem in Spanish; second is my poem in English; and finally the English translation of Mr. Wright’s.

Bien tomados de la mano” by Douglas Wright

Qué lindo que es caminar,
bien tomados de la mano,
por el barrio, por la plaza,
¿qué sé yo?, por todos lados.

Qué lindo es mirar los árboles,
bien tomados de la mano,
desde el banco de la plaza,
en el que estamos sentados.

Qué lindo es mirar el Cielo
bien tomados de la mano;
en nuestros ojos, volando,
dos pájaros reflejados.

Qué lindo que es caminar
bien tomados de la mano;
¡qué lindo, andar por la vida
de la mano bien tomados!

What a Mess (by Bill)

Ok, Linda. It’s my Camaro.
It’s been tomatoed by some men
over near the barrio, next
to the plaza. Okay for you
and those toad lads of yours.

K-Lindy, it’s more vegetables
been tossed by young men
into the river at a party
and then, they fell in drunk asleep.

Maybe the Land Rover’s better.
Still, tomatoes and those men;
I’m nervous about Yolonda.
She can see the disaster.

Linda, you can run the Camaro
with tomatoes thrown
and take it to the car wash
and dry it like a Tejas tornado.

Holding Hands Firmly by Douglas Wright

How nice it is to walk,
holding hands firmly,
through the neighborhood, through the plaza,
What do I know?, everywhere.

How nice it is to look at the trees,
holding hands firmly,
from the bench in the plaza,
in which we are sitting.

How nice it is to look at the sky
holding hands firmly;
in our eyes, flying,
two reflected birds.

How nice it is to walk
holding hands firmly;
how nice, to walk through life
with hands held firmly!

Look both ways, America has no official national language
yet very few (especially natives) are bilingual.
Mind the gaps and learn another language.

*Click on the NaPo button to see the challenge and more poems (not all are on prompt).

14 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 6)

  1. I absolutely love this, Bill! It is so much fun! I am still laughing.
    My Spanish was limited so it was so easy to enjoy your interpretation of the sounds to create your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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