lost/in translation

as much as i

try

to reach

a hand across

the sea of our unfamiliarity

i tire,

the endlessness

of your freshness

i am no native

speaker

always this scrambling

to translate

a landmark

out of such unrecognizables,

the slipping through

i’m slipping through

once again

you don’t realize

i’m immobilized

you’ve left me

in my lapse,

lost

 

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14 Responses to lost/in translation

  1. Uzoma says:

    Communication and a perfect understanding are important in human relationships. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves ‘slipping through’ — perhaps unnoticed.

    The meaning of this poem comes to me from two different angles. I wonder if that was your plan.

    A thoughtful piece, Chloe.

    • SirenaTales says:

      Thank you for your constant support, Uzoma! Truly. Well, I would love to hear your two angles on this. I think I may have baffled folks a bit….It was inspired by my experience to connect with a few groups of people, most of whom are much younger and with life experience quite different from mine. It got me thinking about how I am really in translating mode most of the time, trying to understand what’s being said and done in an comprehensible way. I realize we are all doing this much/most of the time when we communicate. Your thoughts would be most welcome, if you care to share. xoxo

      • Uzoma says:

        Oh I get it now. I think one of my angles is close to the theme of your poem; the other, being metaphorical, is far off. But I will let you know about it, too. This was what came to mind when I first read this poem. I thought the listener (who is not a native speaker of a certain language) was struggling to understand what the speaker what trying to convey. In my country there are people who barely understand English because they have little or no education. In order to communicate with these people, one has to depend on translators. There are times, however, when these translators may not be present, but communication has to established. During this moment, the conservation becomes awkward.

        From a metaphorical viewpoint, I read the poem as a call from the speaker — who wanted to be in a relationship — to someone s/he admired. This speaker was willing to bare his/her mind *this part is way off, right? 😦 *

        Your dance classes and lessons really teach me a lot of things.

    • SirenaTales says:

      Uzoma, My goodness, how generous you are! Thank you so much for taking the time both to think about all this and to share it with me. Everything you say is spot on–I am actually thrilled that you and the other readers picked up on several meanings, as that was my intention. Then I was concerned that I had made it too oblique, opaque. I am so happy that my intention may have played out–thanks to smart, thoughtful, sensitive readings. Thank you!

  2. Miranda Stone says:

    I can sense the helplessness of the poem’s narrator, desperately trying to bridge that communication gap. It sounds like quite an exhausting struggle. A powerful poem, Chloe!

    • SirenaTales says:

      Thank you for this insightful comment, Miranda. To be frank, I almost pulled this after I pressed “publish” as I feared it might be too oblique. How wonderful that you “get” me–what a comfort, and inspiration! Yes–I find constantly having to translate can be exhausting, so being understood is a relief and joy. Love to you

  3. stacilys says:

    At first I thought that you were speaking about one person and the difficulties in understanding and making sense of them and their ways. Then, I thought that it could be more of an abstract thing, such as a place, or question you were struggling with. Then, as I read your response to Uzoma, I realized what you were grappling with. The gap in generations and the way that it causes shiftings in society and the makeup of current culture can be difficult indeed. It makes me think about how I used to think of the elderly. Now that I am a bit older and not considered youth anymore, along with my own life lessons, and world-view that has been shaped, I have an extreme respect for those that have spent more time living than me. Oftentimes there seems to be so much wisdom, yet in simplicity.
    Thanks for sharing this thought invoking poem.
    🙂

    • SirenaTales says:

      Oh, I am so touched that you invested so much thought and energy into this, Staci! I actually feel all of your responses are spot on, and I even thought about most of them as I wrote and tried not to make the meaning too narrow. So, your readings are all terrific. Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit–I find it quite inspiring. xoxo

  4. chiaink says:

    A powerful poem, and as all great art, can be interpreted on many levels, while the essential feelings remain.

  5. kanzensakura says:

    It is often how I feel – a true stranger in a truly stranger land. Excellent work.

  6. chrisbkm says:

    A powerful poem Chloe. There’s a stop/start rhythm and then the fluid “always this scrambling” that reflects the subject, fragmented conversations, frustration and determination perfectly. It’s a subject close to my heart. Nicely done!

    • SirenaTales says:

      I’m so pleased you got the senses of fragmentation, frustration, determination–all part of my experience, but I didn’t know if I conveyed them successfully. Yes, this is a fave subject of mine, sometimes in the context of dance, sometimes not. The whole wonderfully messy, and sometimes daunting (to me, anyway), experience of communication consistently intrigues. Thanks for joining me in conversation. Your valuable insights are much appreciated, Chris.

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