Wednesday, April 13, 2005
FRANCISCO SANTOS: FIN DE SEMANA
FIN DE SEMANA
Esta noche en Las Vegas, Nevada
una colina de sal renace mujer
y abre de nuevo las piernas
y un Lot anónimo sufre raros sueños.
This evening in Las Vegas, Nevada
a column of salt retransfigures into woman
who once again, spreads her legs wide --
while an anonymous Lot suffers rare dreams
Why am I posting this poem on a Wednesday? Well, people do call it hump day-- although I've wondered about that, since most people hump on the weekend.
All kinds of discrepencies here. Those middle two lines would literally, word for word, go --
a hill of salt is reborn (with connotatoins of appears again as, aquires new vigour as) woman, even more literally rebirths woman
and opens anew its/her legs (literally the legs)
I had to make choices -- among pronouns, verbs, adjectives -- and for certain strict literalists among us, may have strayed unacceptably wide. "Colina" (hill) and "columna" (column) are similar in sound, and one subtly evokes the other here, unlike hill and column or pillar; "colina" is also more melliflous than "hill". At the same time, however, the literal translation of the biblical "pillar of salt" is "estatua de sal". Pillar of salt therefore wouldn't do -- just too hackneyed, and nor did he write the corresponding cliche in Spanish. Hill of salt to me was boring -- and I imagine there are lots of columns in those Vegas casinos; indeed, casinos are columns of sorts. So I went with column, to mirror the sonic values of the poem. "Retransfigures" -- well, that coinage has an exalting connotation that captures the invigourating feel of renacer better than simply "is reborn", "turns into" or "transforms into..." so there you go. I went rare. Including rare dreams.
Rare dreams could be more simply strange dreams, remarkable dreams, unusual dreams, uncommon dreams -- all perhaps more accurate on literal levels, but, as adjectives, boring as they proclaim they aren't. But then there are the Sp. expressions "rara excepcion" and "rara perfeccion", lit. "rare exception/perfection", and the use in physics meaning "rarefied". "Rare" also mirrored the original. So I went rare, as I said. Not just medium-rare...