Apollo and a Poem

Tuesday, 15 January 2013



Meet Apollo, the donkey I sponsored. Actually, you’ve already met him, but more photos couldn’t hurt. The people at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada have sent me these larger photos of him, and he really is too lovely.

Here’s another lovely thing, in the form of a poem I thoroughly enjoyed reading last night. Enjoy:

Translating a ‘Prolog’
by Jean Kent

In the spring sunshine, under wisteria through the ironbark—
a sky of emphatic blue above, all around me
a bath of light—

While the tortoiseshell cat is sleeping, wound into a spiral
(on its wrought-iron seat) of caramel, charcoal
and lime-white—

I’m trying to translate a German poem. Earlier the cat
sat on the dictionary. All English translations
of vertrauen—‘to trust’? ‘have confidence in’?—

disappeared under sunwarmed fur. Now she’s confident
she’s my mistress again, the purring bundle
settles in her own space—

leaves me to the foreign words in my hands.
Distracted, I hear a crackling under loquat leaves—breaking sounds
below all that my trees have shrugged off
in the last half year—

I wasn’t here to rake them clear, and now the leaves
hide, then slowly release, a lizard that looks
like a sundappled creek—

a patient flow across the path, its flick of tongue
a lick of blue, in and out
of the light.

The reptile slides under another blanket of leaves
on a garden bed. The cat still sleeps.
From a forest of German

a snail in a cape of rain begins to wake.
On a book’s bright field, oak leaves and acorns
scatter …

The blue-tongue lizard when it blinks in the open again
is under the cat’s dreaming chair.
Sunlight aspics them

one above the other, both oblivious, peculiar
as translations, shy gestures
towards another place.


suzie said...

Apollo is a hearbreaker…I particularly love his "y'all from the city?" bit of grass hanging out of his gob!

Karolina said...

Great poem. It rings so true, especially since I'm a translator myself:)

Apollo is charming indeed.

Sally said...

So much beautiful animal imagery in the poem. I especially like the cat's description, I've always wanted a tortie!

As a kid I was scared of the donkeys on our street who angrily heehawed at us, but now I realize they were just protecting the cows in their field! Apollo especially helps me remember how lovely they are. :) What a nice home he has too.

Teresa said...

Aw! Apollo is adorable. I want to scratch his nose. :)

louise said...

Apollo is absolutely adorable and looks very appreciative of your care. xolj

Hila said...

Suzie: That is pretty darn cute!

Karolina: I have the deepest of respect for translators, such a hard job.

Sally: Yes, he has a nice home now. I'm glad for him, poor chap.

Teresa: me too, so badly!

Louise: and other people's care too. xo

Sarah said...

ah this is awesome!! i would love a donkey. and the poem is so brightly descriptive, it's magic. your blog is such a breath of fresh air! i love it

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Hila said...

Thank you!