From Hsinlinpu River Bridge on the Way to Hsuancheng by Hsieh T’iao

River traffic keeps heading southwest
the ocean-bound current surges northwest
I see boats on the horizon sailing home
and trees along the river wrapped in clouds
thinking about this trip exhausts and deflates me
I’ve journeyed alone so many times
but it meets my need for a salary
and accords my interest in eremitic realms
cut off henceforth from dust and noise
surely I’ll find what brings my heart joy
although I lack a panther’s guise
I will disappear at last into the misty southern peaks

translated by Red Pine

Back by Robert Creeley

Leonard Durso

Suppose it all turns into, again,
just the common, the expected
people, and places, the distance
only some change and possibly one

or two among them all, gone–
that word again–or simply more
alone than either had been
when you’d first met them. But you

also are not the same,
as if whatever you were were
the memory only, your hair, say,
a style otherwise, eyes now

with glasses, clothes even
a few years can make look
out of place, or where you
live now, the phone, all of it

changed. Do you simply give
them your address? Who?
What’s the face in the mirror then.
Who are you calling.

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replay 2

Leonard Durso

there come those times
in the day at night
when you replay moments
adjust positions
fine-tune dialogue
edit in your favor
those words
you shouldn’t have said
and you think yes
this is the way
it should have might have
and a different life
than the one you’re living
causes that lump
that tear

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Isaac Bashevis Singer on translations

Leonard Durso

But as far as translation is concerned, naturally every writer loses in translation, particularly poets and humorists. Also writers whose writing is tightly connected to folklore are heavy losers. In my own case, I think I am a heavy loser. But then lately I have assisted in the translating of my works, and knowing the problem,I take care that I don’t lose too much. The problem is that it’s very hard to find a perfect equivalent for an idiom in another language. But then it’s also a fact that we all learned our literature through translation. Most people have studied the Bible only in translation, have read Homer in translation, and all the classics. Translation, although it does do damage to an author, it cannot kill him; if he’s really good, he will come out even in translation. And I have seen it in my own case. Also, translation helps…

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