Go East Young Woman

The words in the title of this post and the title of the poem posted here (they are the same) attest to an idea that has taken decades to gestate and take form. So, the adjective didn’t fit then and doesn’t now. The “going” and the direction are imaginary no matter what corner of the globe one happens to be. That’s just how things are!

My next post will share something that I wrote because of getting involved with translation. Darn if the translation isn’t better than the original! And I say this though I wrote both!

Go East Young Woman

12/9/97

robert bly, coleman barker, william stafford
rumi, bill moyers

think, study, translate, create, ask,
action words for me.
Venture capital for me, adventure for me.

There was a time when a kind old lady,
a lecturer at the state university, whose husband
enjoyed professorship at the prestigious private
university down-a-ways, told me,

go east young woman and translate.

Of course, she used no such words but drew a picture
of the interest and fascination for works
of creators in the land of my birth.  Writers and authors
of whom I knew and did not want to know;
of whose works the contents seemed too nearly to speak
of events and feelings of my identity.

Translate?  What? No Originality?
No creative spark—no presence of self?

That Negative Capability young John praised
When only twenty-two; that same self-less self
of the Bard, that captivated me;
At twenty-five I knew not how to understand.

Vigorously searching for my unique voice
in the depths of others’ literary analyses;
defining my boundaries by understanding
everyone else’s—or only assuming that I
understood everyone else’s;
Left no room for a view of the truth.

My voice that emerged from those thousand
reflections, my self that took shape from
those literary declensions;
seven times seven removed from
experience and enveloped with the ignorance
passing for innocence; precious and precocious, knew not whereof it spoke.

About meenapoetartisan

word lover, meaning maniac, bilingual with metalingual interests, sometimes potter, poet, playwright, writer, mover to music, always a pontificator.
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