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The Monday Poem > Written in Green Ink by Octavio Paz (6 June 2016)

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message 1: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Written in Green Ink by Octavio Paz (translated by Muriel Rukeyser)

Green ink makes garden, forest, fields,
trees full of leaves where letters sing,
words that are trees,
phrases appearing as green constellations.

Permit my words' descent cover your whiteness
like a rain of leaves on a field of snow,
like ivy on the statue,
ink on this page.

Arms, waist, neck, breasts,
forehead pure as the sea,
a neck of forests in the fall,
teeth biting a blade of grass.

Your body is constellated in green images
like a tree's body, covered with green shoots.
Never mind the scar, little and luminous:
look up at the sky and its green tattoo of stars.

and here is the original in Spanish:
Escrito con tinta verde by Octavio Paz

La tinta verde crea jardines, selvas, prados,
follajes donde cantan las letras,
palabras que son árboles,
frases que son verdes constelaciones.

Deja que mis palabras, oh blanca, desciendan y te cubran
como una lluvia de hojas a un campo de nieve,
como la yedra a la estatua,
como la tinta a esta página.

Brazos, cintura, cuello, senos,
la frente pura como el mar,
la nuca de bosque en otoño,
los dientes que muerden una brizna de yerba.

Tu cuerpo se constela de signos verdes
como el cuerpo del árbol de renuevos.
No te importe tanta pequeña cicatriz luminosa:
mira al cielo y su verde tatuaje de estrellas.


copied from: http://consuelomendez.blogspot.com/20...


message 2: by Leslie (last edited Jun 05, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments This was one of my favorite poems in the collection by Mexican author Octavio Paz that I read recently. This poem was originally published in El girasol (1943-1948). Apparently Paz did have a fondness for writing in green ink!

Paz was a diplomat and political activist as well as a Nobel Laureate in Literature (1990). You can read more about him at the Poetry Foundation:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems...


message 3: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments That's a really nice poem, Leslie. I enjoyed looking at the Spanish original also. Thanks!

Until you mentioned it recently, I hadn't realised that Octavio Paz wrote poetry as well as prose.

I had a dream in my twenties that I was going to meet and fall in love with a man who loved writing in green ink. But I never met him. Just think, all I had to do was meet up with Octavio Paz!


message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7488 comments Mod
Gill wrote: "
I had a dream in my twenties that I was going to meet and fall in love with a man who loved writing in green ink. But I never met him. Just think, all I had to do was meet up with Octavio Paz!
.."


lol Gill! He was quite a handsome young man as well!




message 5: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7488 comments Mod
I love both the poem and the translation Leslie!!

I'll comment more on lunch break - right now I have to get going to work.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Love the poem, Leslie.
Great photo, Greg.
Thanks.


message 7: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7488 comments Mod
I love the image of the green words covering the whiteness.

I also love the "a neck of forests in the fall, / teeth biting a blade of grass." Something about "neck" there appeals to me; it brings to mind a trunk, and I can almost feel that crushed grass.

A very fine translation, I think. Quite close to the original in meaning, but nothing feels clunky in it at all. Definitely a translation done by a poet.

Those few times Rukeyser deviates slightly from the Spanish, I like the choices:

"como el cuerpo del árbol de renuevos."

She translates as:

"like a tree's body, covered with green shoots."

Just a bit different but so simple & vivid, and the structure fits perfectly with her English sentence before it.

What a lovely poem in Spanish, and what a fine English translation too! I am definitely going to buy this book Leslie!!


message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I love the comparison of the green words covering the paper with ivy on a statue.

I don't speak Spanish so I am glad to have your input on the quality of the translation Greg! Certainly none of the poems in the collection felt at all clunky or forced, as sometimes happens when poetry is translated.


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