Standing Out from The Crowd

Today’s challenge is to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a foreign language. The brief is to choose a photo and then to find a poem in a language you don’t know. Then the aim is to translate the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. It is suggested to use the look and feel of the words in the original as a guide whilst trying to describe the photograph! I have randomly chosen the attached photo and the poem “Plumeria Acutifolia” by Norwegian poet Tua Forsström featured below my poem.

p.s As you will see, although a keen linguist, I most definitely do not speak this one!

The Most Brilliant of Leaves

Right there you stand in your brilliance

Shiny as a lacquered metal

The volume of your hue spectacular

Someone or other clearly planted you there

To all the other bland plumage

Stood, trembling somewhat maudlin as you reign

Stood, trembling as you reign in full life’s bloom

They wait for your dignity to fall

They see in you the lushness of a tropical rainstorm

Your blooming life force raining and waiting for me

To each star I blurt the awe of your gleaming

Soft perfume raining on the stars, trembling sweet and moved

Til the day when you fly to the northern hemisphere

Every town so inquisitive to the answers sent by Mother Earth

Til the day when you fly to your very sanctuary

Bright plumage, superfoliage, you reign


Jag gick i en stad som glittrade

Av valutakurser och låga motell

Väldiga hallar med spelautomater

Som om ingen verkligen bodde där

Tills i ett gathörn bland biluthyrningsfirmorna

Stod trädet som ett moln av doft och regn

Stod trädet som ett moln av regn och vita blommor

Som regnade på mig och doftade och föll

Det var en ljum och övergående tropisk störtskur

De vita blommorna och regnet regnade på mig

Jag står i blöta kläder och är gammal

Och doft och regn står omkring trädet som ett moln

Och det fanns ingen flygbiljett till norra hemisfären

Jag ville ingenting och önskade mig inte mer

Och det fanns inget svek och inga slakterier

Bara Plumeria acutifolia, i regn

Tua Forsström

(Finland, 1947)

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