an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Tarot #01

A Young Apophatic’s Attempts at Self-Reflection through Translation

From Hesse’s “Maria” (1898)
Ich fragte Dich, warum Dein Auge gern
In meinem Auge ruht,
So wie ein reiner Himmelsstern
In einer dunklen Flut.

Du sahest lang mich an,
Wie man ein Kind mit blicken misst,
Und sagtest freundlich dann:
Ich bin gut zu Dir, weil Du so traurig bist.

Attempt into the Literal:
I asked you why your eye
Likes to rest in my eye
Like a pure star of heaven
In a dark tide/flood.

You looked at me for long,
As one sizes up a child.
And then said kindly,
I’m good to you, because you are so sad

Attempt into the Literary:
I asked you why your eye
Does like to rest in mine
As might a purest star
In darkest tides of sky.

You gazed at me a while,
As kindly mother may a child,
Then told me in the warmest tone:
I’m good, for in your head you are alone.

Attempt at Return to Self:
i did not dare to ask
why You like to rest with me,
Your eye in mine and mine in Yours,
like life in dark, like star in void,

since i could not bear to hear
Your kind and loving voice
tell me that You know and see
just how it is in me.