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An attempt at translation from English into Welsh using iTranslate. Some words were altered to find correlates – it didn’t like ‘held’, ‘unbelonged’, ‘lorn’, ‘furled’. I would welcome any comments from Welsh speakers- apart from a few words that I recognise, I do not know how well the software has worked, but would be interested in finding out how close or far from the mark it is!

Sleepless, I must wait
Tight-wrapped,
Held white and unresolved,
Dissolving,
An unbelonged thing.

Di-gwsg,
rhaid i mi aros
Dynn-lapio,
Cipio gwyn a heb eu datrys,
Diddymu,
A beth nad ydynt yn perthyn.

Wait, and I shall meet you
Down by the bridge, by the ford.
Where the river always murmurs sense.
In twilight, in evening,
Furled suspended time,
Honeysuckle warm
And the whisper of moths.

Arhoswch, a byddaf yn cwrdd â chi
i lawr ger y bont, gan y rhyd.
Lle mae’r afon bob amser yn si synnwyr,
Yn cyfnos, yn y nos.
Amser plygu atal dros dro,
Gwyddfid cynnes
A sibrwd o wyfynod.

But lorn I am
On this longest shore.
White, cold white, the horizon.
The far breakers’ withdrawn roar
Leaving naked the still, black rocks,
A salt taste of wheeling gulls.
A spun void.

Ond gwan wyf
Ar y lan hiraf.
Gwyn, gwyn oer yw’r gorwel.
Rhuo Mae’r torwyr bell ‘tynnu’n ôl
Gadael noeth y dal, creigiau du,
Blas halen o gwylanod gwthio.
Mae gwagle nyddu.

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Before and After Li Po

( improvisations on the poem “Jingting Shan Hill” by Li Po, following the lead of Robert Okaji)

Characters are rendered:

Crowd birds high fly utmost
Lonely cloud alone go idle
Mutual watch both not tire
Only be Jingting Shan

1
Birds, a scattered knot
In distant depth.
One cloud aimless
(This thought).
Lost the mirror distance,
Resonant, the still hill.

2
Silent swing the flock.
Wind flute, too, silent
At this peak of distance.
We exist only because
Of the other.
Green hill breathing.

3
Caught, the distant, sweet movement.
An upper air, a life of song and wind,
Silent here from this depth.
See too, there is one small cloud,
Sweet movement hesitant.
So, now, eye sinks earthwards,
Locks on swelling hill,
There before, and there after,
A poet’s gaze.

4
Scribble splatter
Brush of birds.
Splashed distant sky.
One thought lost,
The hand and eye
Follow each other,
Equally curious.
A mountain of bone
And earth,
Misted,
Remains.

5
The names matter.
On the tongue, in memory.
Located the sweep of sky,
The noisy flock of one mind,
The moment,
A congregation
Of blessings.

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A6concentric2d

SPEAKING IN TONGUES (dream stream)

Drag it through, wiped, stained, dyed, a sop.
This brush awkward,
the hand suffers from doubt,
stutters laden with gold black signs.

The words to use, the words not to use, the ordering of words, the letters of the law.
Stumbling into gaps, minding the gaps, the howling winds, the imminent rain. It changes everything and nothing. A shaman’s song summoning, departing on the wind. Three worlds by far is not enough, is too much. The twelve halls of the Aesir, joy and feasting in each one, even Ullr’s dark vale.

This script unlocks avenues,
makes actors vapours,
vapours actors.

Howling time, death-watch seconds. Do we care which demons are summoned, so long as they stream in and tell us: now it is real, now those wishes will become ripe and fall, now there will become meaning to all the suffering.
Who is it who sings, no sirens, no silkies, no fatuus igni? The chimes, the bells across the fields mingling with the blackbirds. In the cooling evening so silently the apple blossom peels seconds apart, minute by minute, statuesque, the light holds back, turns solid.

The song is not and is,
Each word offering gifts of meaning
Obscuring invention
Reducing points to lines
The gap, the space,
The disenchanted exquisiteness of it
Enough to breed madness
Or eloquence
Or a flutter of coincidence
The coming together of likes.
The burning of division.
A drum of words, rhythm and shock, imitation of emotion, the ruin of time.
Belonging to, not belonging to, lists, listen to the names,
Each name
a thousand new names,

Each placed here and here in the dark body ’til it glistens, quickens, revives, re-dreams those vast cascades. Smallest shattering of lives, fragmenting to combine into consonant and vowel, the thousand names of every god, every hall, every realm, every storm over the enchanted forest where the golden boys play, the golden boys with golden hair, who watch but take no part in each inevitable slaughter.

A dream only,
a day of dream,
a feast of dream,
an amusement of titans,
a hypothesis of worlds.
The heart singing alone.
The soul’s shape as song.
An ululation.
A speaking in tongues.

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