NaPoWriMo Day 7 (Day 12 for Everybody Else), or, Why I’m Suddenly Glad I Don’t Speak Norwegian

Today’s prompt is to make a homophonic “translation” of a poem from a different language. Having enjoyed a similar exercise at a recent workshop with Christopher Howell, I went straight to the Poetry International website, as Maureen Thorson suggests, and browsed around there for a nicely baffling poem. I chose Norwegian poet Oyvind Rimbereid’s poem titled “Kamuflasje” because I had no glimmer what any of the words, other than the title, might mean.

Working with just the first 17 lines of Rimbereid’s poem, I came up with bizarre, nonsensical lines like, “Can Leftist Week have its corn back in a fuselage flash?” and “or therefore algaes can fly if they will.” What I revised this happy mess into is still bizarre and nonsensical, but perhaps slightly  more coherent:


How to pay for my rest without night
saying “sin” or “Kawasaki”?

Swerve next door to find the heroine
who neighbored in a varying sleep.

Back home, I dream a nasty knife performer
camouflages me; I tell him my eyes

must blink ten serrations before
the sky will forgive him.

Another sunset, I dream Medean cats
that so endrunken the eyes, I am gloomed

totally. Their cryings infiltrate
like soldiers in a short minute.

I counsel half myself to eat corn
while in the other half, I witness blades

punishing flesh. Poor truthteller.
Amnesia drifts me, drops me whole.

Sleep slashes and winds. For any eyes upended,
closing, droning, I will them to rev.

* * * * * * * *

Righto. See you next time, then. Thanks for reading!

4 comments on “NaPoWriMo Day 7 (Day 12 for Everybody Else), or, Why I’m Suddenly Glad I Don’t Speak Norwegian

  1. jik says:

    you are an amazing translator!

  2. I like “I counsel half myself to eat corn.”

  3. Thank you ever so much, Marilyn!

    I am SO impressed that you’ve written make-up poems for the NaPoWriMo days you missed. Talk about raising the bar! I look forward to catching up with your writing there–thanks for getting in touch.

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