For a readable version of this poem (including all translations): go to the poem’s proper page.
The problem with fictional languages is that you forget what it all meant, years down the line. Case in point:
we linger not in wonder
and ponder not where to wander
the night knows no secrets
the day casts no shadows
yet we stumble all the same
the streets have changed
our ideas cast in shame
to a girl I’ve watched grow
I remember a night
drinking camomille tea on a terrae
the stray dogs on the way to the hotel
even then I knew who you were,
who you’d become
who’d shine in the starlight.
Granted, if you’d known then
you would become a brewer’s wife,
I think you’d hesitate.
Yet given the tenderness in his eyes,
the love that reigs between you two?
I’d think even today
you’d say yes.
we think we know
why she cries
certain, we are not
but yesterday she didn’t come home
this morning she arrived
ran straight into the bathroom
wenn Ihr das tagenlang nicht glauben wollte quand vous pensez que le pire a passé és az éjszaka sötet найду тебя and I will lay my hand on your shoulder niet in medelijden, maar como si yo fuera el amigo du alltid vellat ma mai non ottenuto le chéile suifidh muid ir ugnis sudegins respira, suntem aici
This was originally called “a european sentiment”, since it was written in 12 different European languages. The sentiment’s universal however. First exposed to the public eye on the 21st of December 2017, the darkest night of the year.
You can find monolingual translations of the poem in the expanded version of this post: de · fr · en · nl · ru.
German translation redacted by Ingrid T.
The entire spoken version can also be found on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4kBqIpOreio
the mass clones us all
unto a whitebook with defined chapters
we go by
drive, fly back
the bowl a labyrinth of aquariums
an excelsheet for the accountant
and we don’t complain – is this not what we wanted
what we shared, what we dreamt?
unity becomes multicity
the line that defines me fades
we live in the light
(we live in the shadow of what we were)
we live in the eye of the storm
In response to an article on Treehugger, I wrote this:
I’m Belgian, from the Flemish/Dutch-speaking side of things. I thus suffered through obligatory language courses from age ten onwards in French, German and English. After leaving highschool, I studied Slavic languages, learning Russian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian as well as studying Old Slavonic.
To say that I’ve had quite a lot of language teachers, wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Some were lousy, others were the best you could get. When the teacher wasn’t good, I hated the language I needed to study. When the teacher was good, their enthusiasm and love of the language got transmitted. So yes, the method is important, yet the method is also highly personal.
Because you are not only transferring text book knowledge, you are emparting a perspective, a way of life, the significant difference between what one culture considers present, as well as past tense. Why certain concepts in a gender-fluid language arise, yet falter in a gender-strict language. Why one’s inside differs from another’s outside.
It’s this lesson that often gets lost in translation, why it’s easier to translate a manual than a poem. Because people come in a million nuances and zvery nuance has, certainly since the written word, been expressed through language. Because language and especially the ability to construct metaphors and build upon that is essentially what raises humans from the animal world.
Knowing other languages, being familiar with a different history of idioms and proverbs, broadens your horizon. Lets you realize how different you are from one another, yet how connected you are to every single person out there.
Somewhere, people wish that their neighbour’s cow will get ill (thus elevating their own position in society). Somewhere, somebody writes a song and wishes that their neighbour’s cow will too stay healthy. It’s a Bosnian reggae song, a post-Yugoslavic expression of peace. I wouldn’t have learned it if I hadn’t studied the language, yet this little nugget of knowledge brightens my day each time I think about it.
So yes, study a different language, widen your world, for the world is wide, yet every road interlinked. Accept that hand and shake it. Wish them well, so that they might wish you well.
The act of creation creates. That is the purpose behind the act, the intent lurking beneath the surface. As a species unto itself, mankind has learned to find pleasure in creation. Man has come to find it so pleasurable that he, or she, oftimes performs the act not for purposes of creation, but for sheer joy at having come into this world and leaving behind a sign of passage, a distinction of existence.
Some would say intelligent thought unlocks the world for our purview. Some would have you believe that the ability to abstract and comprehend is what separates us from savage beasts, that it is what makes us civilized. I say: balderdash. Those who see, will be disillusioned. Those who hear, fall silent. Those who perceive, falter. Let it be said that man, alike beast, is a fool who stumbles in the dark. Let it be said that even the stars that guide our dreams eventually fade away. Let it be known that man mustn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, but does, has and will.