Wednesday, February 14, 2007


By David Whyte

The husk of your voice
is like a chrysalis
grown round something
waiting to be born
and waiting for you
to stop.

What is inside
wants to know itself fully
before it is born.
That's why it refuses
to reveal itself,
sure as you are
that you need not slip down
that long branch of your body
to the very root
and in the earth of your body
near the damp echo
of everything
you have not touched
reflected in your voice, and the air
suddenly quicken
as if innocent speech
could rise again
from that rich and
impossible soil
composed of your neglected past.
Like sap rising
in the steady tree
of your courageous life.
Your voice opens

and shows
the strong outline
of that tree
against the sky,
where another
takes flight
startled by your
new cry,

the shadow
of something leaving
to find its own way
in the world.

Something you carried
as a black weight
for many years.
You watch it go

as if it might return
blessed by a world
allows its going,
refusing to be held
and refusing to hold
you again,
free and finally
in its flight
to another's mouth
untroubled by your breath.


piktor said...

Ann, I loved the Jimenez poem looked it up in Spanish and made this translation. What do you think?

I am not myself.
I am this,
that travels next to me without notice;
whom I visit sometimes,
and, sometimes, I forget.
Whom, quietly, silences when I speak,
who grants blithe pardon, while I hate,
that wanders into where I'm not,
who will still stand when I die.

Callooh said...

Wow. thank you.

If you don't mind I will post both side by side. I got this version from Percival Press whose translations I would generally assume to be excellent, but I find even with Neruda --one of my favourite poets-- translations are not always consistent. But really how could they be? you will always lose something (I once listened to a poem which I thought was powerful in English, and then heard it's literal meaning in German - no comparison). I can read Spanish poorly enough to know when something isn't translating, but not well enough to translate myself... so again - thank you so much!