Day 8: Happy National Poetry Month!

Translation is an art in itself; it is the re-creative process of transforming the magic of one language into the magic of another.

—Kahlil Gibran

Recently I have jumped on the train of people watching Korean dramas. I never thought I could be so addicted to watching television with subtitles! It’s not that I’m a language snob, it’s just that I’m lazy.

And yet, here I am, watching one Korean drama on Netflix after another. There seems to be a never-ending supply of them. And they all tell compelling stories with humor and intelligence and empathy I can’t seem to find in most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood these days.

Recently I’ve been watching to the end so I can catch the translators’ names. I always say a quick thank you to these gods of language because without them I would never understand these beautiful stories I’ve fallen in love with.

I ran across the quote at the top of this post the other day and it got me started thinking about the art of translation. I wrote this (very) rough draft while thinking about translation. I will admit the image I used in the poem was more Japanese than Korean because I think it is beautiful the way Japanese writing falls from the top of the page instead of our bland left to right thing.

Don’t be surprised if you see this poem in my book of love poetry. Love comes in many forms and I definitely love that someone takes the time to translate beautiful things. A note, though, that it will probably take some editing for this one. I just wrote it and I’m not sure about the format, the rhyme or even some of the wording. And that last line seems sort of…bland.


By Michelle Garren-Flye

Words drip into my ear,

hang from an imagined sky,

but I am helpless to hear…

They are a mystery in my eye,

and I despair until you appear.

(I’m glad you didn’t miss my cry!)

Oh, draw your finger down the vine

of cryptic crosswords I cannot crack—

the codes of other worlds I want to find,

the loves of other dreams I cannot track.

Your key to this language is sublime—

my translator is the gift for which I thank.

Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

2 thoughts on “Day 8: Happy National Poetry Month!

  1. Love the poem and the thoughts behind it! I would never presume to tell you how to write, but for the last line, I’d go with something like “the beauty of the words, you give me back”

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