Poetry in translation: Rapier

After Lize Spit

the neighbour pushes his dog
the leash taut like a rapier
the lawn mower tows the man who closes his eyes
as straight as possible behind

here one can at most crash
into sheets that just won’t dry
on the corner of the cemetery is a café
there are sitting people sitting
until they can be late somewhere else in their dog’s life
there is seven times less time but dogs never give that impression
unless they smell rabbits.

pushing is a lot like pulling
if it occurs on the opposite side

they who are drinking beer by the cemetery are likely suffering
from lack of
imagination for example what if the night falls and our heads
separate from our bodies

This poem is a translation from the Flemish. The original poem is called Sabel and was written by poet and novelist Lize Spit.

I had to make a calculated choice when naming this poem. The Flemish word sabel translates to sabre, but a sabre is a curved type of sword, so this didn’t fit with the image in the poem. I think Lize Spit made a mistake. She chose a word that is often misused. I pondered on which type of sword would be the best fit here, and in the end I went for a rapier, which is straight and also quite narrow.

6 thoughts on “Poetry in translation: Rapier

  1. Congratulations on the publication and lovely writing. Very cleaver comparisons, I especially liked the following being a dog person,

    “somewhere else in their dog’s life
    there is seven times less time but dogs never give that impression
    unless they smell rabbits.“

    Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

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