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Translation


          "Parade of Planets," George Abramishvili


You raise your hand; is it to strike me or to let your fingers learn the curve my cheekbones make? You say Hello, and I am lost to know whether you mean Hello, I’m here, Hineini, or you mean Hell, no, don’t bother me, I’m busy, what would I want with you.

Always I know to read the horses’ neighs, the dog’s tail when it wags, the cat’s meow (it always means, where’s dinner?); I can read the rabbit tracks in snow, the tree leaves in the spring, the tea leaves in the cup; seasons, snowstorms, turnips and tulips wanting water. Sometimes I even read the mind of God.

Only the words and gestures humans make I cannot fathom when they aim for me. Is there a dictionary, a translation guide that helps explain motions and moves the hearts of other people make in this direction? What does it mean? What say you? Who are you? Who am I? Somewhere between these questions is the answer.

Words as words are easy. Words from you to him, to her, to them I translate expertly; from them or her or him to you leave no meanings hidden. Even hands are unambiguous.

But when it comes to me and you I’m lost. I prattle on, I lose myself in words I had forgotten long ago. And in the stillness of the night, alone, I too am silent the way lovers are.

I read the poets, and I know they don’t mean violins; they speak to paper, world, the future. But who is it speaks to them? What do they say? What news? Hello?


Les sanglots
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur
Monotone
...
- Paul Verlaine


When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long
...
- trans. Arthur Symons


The oboe’s slow
long lowe
wounds my soul
with autumn’s own
unhurried
monotone
...
- trans. Anna Mozga



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