The Art of Translation

I thought it was easy…
As easy as to dress a showroom doll.
When the idea is good
It matters little what language it drapes.
Once she possesses a flowing hair, any knot, plait or braid,
Would seem as beautiful.

Convinced at that
I put my first step forward
But lo!
I faltered and twisted my ankle.

Tense in each sentence went awry.
Words demurred
Shying away like aborigines at visitors.
And of those that came out,
Each with its shade, its use and its place
Had become a square peg in a round hole.
The preposterous prepositions, articles, idioms and phrases
Were just nuts… to a toothless me.
Confidence dented as
All figures disfigured.

Finally, it came upon me
That one shouldn’t venture to learn TV repair
Dismantling his own;
Fine tools, alone, make no artisans of men.
As the warped heel showed signs of healing
I began from the basics
Crawling to my feet inch by inch.
Time taught me to be cool
When I was up against tense.
Slowly abandoning the strictures of structure
And catching up with the spirit of the writers
I took off confidently spread-eagling my wits.


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