Monday, December 13, 2010

rowan, smile, cards


Posted by PicasaPigeons, like this one, have  now stripped all the berries from the rowan trees. The leaves, too, have finally succumbed to wind, frost and snow. It seems only a few days ago that I took this photograph.

As I walk down Mount Sion I see a woman coming up the hill towards me. She is carrying a bag of shopping in either hand. I don't think I know her. But her smile, which probably mirrors mine, says: "I don't think I know you, but it is a time of year, when a faint smile is in order as you pass in the street, on a cold damp afternoon, as the doors in Advent calenders open, in the weeks before Christmas,

An alternative to translating a poem, is to write another and to use the term "after" in the title. This thought is prompted by  a poem called A Herbal by Sheamus Heaney "after Guillevic's Herbier de Bretagne. I knew nothing of Guillevic who was a  French poet better known in France than in England. I, for one hadn't heard of him. It is through  Lucy Kempton, to whom I mention the Heaney poem that I owe the knowledge that Guillevic died only recently.  For all I knew he might have been a medieval herbalist. I am assuming now  that the Herbier is in fact a poem rather than a herbal but, while I plan further research when there is time, I am becoming increasingly fond of the Heaney poem. Good things come from translation and well...from acknowledged  imitation.

2 comments:

CC said...

Especially love your pigeon photo.
In touch with your inner J.J. Audubon.

Barrett Bonden said...

Another of those ready-made novel titles that your life is enriched by: Faint Smiles on Mount Sion. Or possibly an ode.