Two Lines 18: Counterfeits
When the order to fire is finally given
everything is excitement and turmoil,
each man is responsible for his part
and no one is responsible for the wreckage.
—from “Battery” by Julio Martinez Mesanza, translated from the Spanish by Don Bogen
True poetry in its own language chastises our desire for easy interpretation, but translation has the double task of delivering clarity, while preserving mystery. I hope the translations here achieve that paradoxical goal. They do for me. I know a translation works as art when I begin to hear a vibration around the words and at the same time see images arising in the theater of the mind, and in intense cases, to feel a nervous excitement translating into a physical need to take up pencil and paper and begin to draw. That kind of aroused listening and reading represents one phase of a long, unfolding, consequential process: writing calls for creative reading, which leads to translation, which gives birth to more creative reading, which may lead to other creations—writing again, or the writing we call drawing, yet another translation.