Lisa’s Literal Translations #4 – “Rent” by Jane Cooper

LiteraryTranslation

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What a Literal Translation is: A word-for-word translation that swaps words out with literal synonyms
Why a Literal Translation: They help dissect hard-to-understand poems. Most of the time.
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“Rent” by Jane Cooper The Original:
.
If you want my apartment, sleep in it
but let’s have a clear understanding:
the books are still free agents.If the rocking chair’s arms surround you
they can also let you go,
they can shape the air like a body.I don’t want your rent, I want
a radiance of attention
like the candle’s flame when we eat,

I mean a kind of awe
attending the spaces between us—
Not a roof but a field of stars.

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Lisa’s Literal Translation:

If you crave my rented living abode, hibernate therein
but let’s keep a transparent agreement of ideas:
the tomes are yet liberated spies.

Should the shuffling seat’s limbs circle you
they may likewise release you,
they may mold the atmosphere like a corpse.

I don’t wish your house money, I wish
a brilliance of concentration
kin to the light’s fire when we ingest,

I intend a sort of wonder
listening to the emptinesses betwixt us—
No ceiling but a meadow of planetary lights.

Literal Translations #3 – “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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LiteraryTranslation
So… I’ve been fighting with my laptop a lot. And I moved, and went to Salt Lake Comic Con and have been working way too much. And did I mention fighting with my laptop? Let’s ignore that my last post was in July, hmm?
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What a Literal Translation is: A word-for-word translation that swaps words out with literal synonyms
Why a Literal Translation: They help dissect hard-to-understand poems. Most of the time.

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Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shellye, the Original:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
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Lisa’s Literal Translation:

I acquainted a wanderer from an old (and possibly collectible) piece of place
Who spoke: “Double large and supportless lower appendages of rock
Keep upright in the hot lands. Close to them on the dry soil
Partially submerged, a fractured face reclines, whose stern look
And crinkled mouth and glare of fosty leadership
Speak that its creator thoroughly those fires studied
Which still sustain, impressed on these dead stuffs,
The palms and fingers that scoffed them and the blood-pumping organ that ate.
And on the raised spot these bits of speech show:
`My title is Ozymandias, Emperor of Emperors:
Gaze on my doings, you strong, and grieve!’
Not anything near survives. By the remnants
Of that enormous mess, endless and empty,
The single and even dunes reach long afar”.
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I love this poem, a true testament to the meaningless of pride and greatness in the vast span of humanity.

J is for Jethro

Jethro, Arizona isn’t on any maps. That’s mainly because it’s plucked straight from my imagination. I was traveling all over the southwest a few summers ago, on business with my dad. Luckily this was made interesting on account of my father knowing the southwest like the back of his hand, and his willingness to travel off the beaten path.

I had a story in my head that, while not exactly just beginning to form (it had been a story before, you see, but it had been demolished and salvaged for scraps when it had gotten out of control and unpublishable), was definitely in the beginning stages in most cases. A lot of my time on this trip was spent writing poetry about desert lizards and musing on this story.

I was looking for a place. I knew it would be in the desert, but it had to be somewhere special, somewhere that was mine. And then I found a place that was almost perfect. We drove through Jerome, Arizona, a small mining town that’s all topsy-turvy and thriving on tourism alone, with intrepid architecture and dangers of mine shafts all round.

I knew that I had found something magically close to where I wanted the setting of my story to be. I regret that I haven’t woven more of its magic into the story yet, as I feel that will be something left up to the rewrites, but it’s all the glory of the modern world in an older western settlement, with the beauties of the hot Arizona desert, a desert I’ve grown to love in my years of traveling across it time and again in my youth. This is a story I love, so it’s fitting for it to have a setting that I love, too.

And I’ve just realized I now have two J entries… le sigh.

Booking Through… Saturday?

Okay, I’ve loved Booking Through Thursday since I first found out about it a couple of years ago. It’s a weekly question about reading or books that serves as a great writing prompt for blog posts.  Problem is, I always forget to do it. This year I’d really like to get used to the idea, though, and so I give you my first Booking Through Thursday prompt. Yes, I know it’s Saturday night. Give me a break.

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

I have to admit, the thickest book I’ve ever read all the way through is probably Gone With the Wind. Mercy, even Middlemarch isn’t as long, and Middlemarch is 800+ pages. And if you’re curious, yes I read that one, too. All. The. Way.

Like many a girl before me, and probably (hopefully) many to come, I had a deep infatuation with Gone With the Wind when I was younger. It started with the movie. I’d seen it once when I was very small, but all I really remembered from it were the (amazing!) dresses and the fire. Oh, and Clark Gable. Because… he’s Clark Gable. *blushes*

When I was eleven or twelve I watched it on TV—on the WB, to be exact, back when the network still existed alone—and fell utterly in love with it. My mom would sigh and tell me how Vivian Leigh wasn’t her Scarlett O’Hara (I had to get it from somewhere, you know?) but I didn’t mind. I watched enthralled from the twins (Frank and Fred? Oh dear… someone will call me out on that if it’s wrong) fawning over Scarlett, through her dancing in mourning clothes and the Atlanta Fire (which nothing has ever compared to cinematically since, if you ask moi) to her declaration of Tomorrow being another day.

This was right before they digitally remastered the film and made all the colors brighter. I think I got that double VHS copy for Christmas that year.

And so, I read the book. Oh, that book. I remember bits of it so vividly. Rhett leaving her on the bridge… Scarlett beating her horse so that it got her to Tara, the thick, thick mist in her dream that was so much more oppressive than they were in the movie. Also, all of the extra husbands and kids that didn’t make it into the film version.

I would think about how Margaret Mitchell used the manuscript as a stabler for her kitchen table for years, something that appalled me as an already-aspiring author. How Clark Gable was afraid he couldn’t pull it off because he was a comedian. How he was actually who she pictured as Rhett Butler, which was completely amazing to me. I read the book twice, but I’d like to read it again someday… I wonder how different I’d take to it now that I’m all growed up and whatnot.

Other thick books I have read at least most of:

Middlemarch by George Eliot — As mentioned. I loved this book. It’s long and dry in some parts, yeah, but definitely a classic for a reason. You know how Jane Austen said that Anne Elliot from Persuasion was “almost too good” for her? That’s the feeling I get from Middlemarch, except in this case Dorothea is really, honestly, VERY good in every single way. Kind, pious, generous, etc. Somehow she’s not unrealistic, though. And she’s not immune to romance, either.

The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest DiaristsI completely loved this book. I can’t say I’ve read every single entry, because it was for a class and I got behind a bit, but it has writing from so many amazing, brilliant and diverse people. I highly, highly recommend it.

The Norton Anthology of Poetry — I read through the first half of this (I think I actually read every poem) for a class. I wish I could have taken the second half of the class, but it was at the same time as another class I wanted to take more. I don’t know where my NAP (as I called it affectionately—though in all honesty, the content rarely made me sleepy) is at the moment, and that thought saddens me greatly, because it’s such a pretty book. I’d like to take it out and read it slowly.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson — This… was also for a class. Are we seeing a pattern here? I re-read it just over a year ago, though, because that class officially made me a Dickinson lover for life. Every time I read an Emily Dickinson poem, I want to read a hundred more of them. She is that good.

A seriously thick book I want to read, which is sitting on my shelf just waiting? Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I’ve heard it described as a Harry Potter* for adults, complete with seriously awesome footnote** content, something Thursday Next novels have made me a complete geek for.

What’s the thickest book you’ve read?

*I suppose a couple of the HP books are long too, eh?

**I completely forgot this word for a good five minutes. Had to resort to Google to figure it out. Then had to head-desk.