Tag Archives: meditation

Japanese Cows (NaPoWriMo #23)

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You know cows
None tattooed
Yammer and bicker
Caught around cones
Moon ash trickles, gone.

This is the original Japanese poem by Monk Ryokan:

Yo no naka wa 
nani ni tatoen 
yamabiko no 
kotauru koe no 
munashiki ga goto

And its translation by Steven D Carter :

Our life in this world – 
to what shall I compare it? 
Its like an echo 
resounding through the mountains 
and off into the empty sky.

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Wow, the Japanese poem is so beautiful. Languages are so diverse and have different stresses of syllables- in Japanese there are so many k’s, g’s, and y’s compared to English, and that’s after translating pictograms into alphabetical notation. Though the “homophobic translation” prompt focuses on similarities of look and sound and not meaning, I can’t help but wonder how different it is read in Japanese with the original words intact. Sometimes I have the urge to just learn a bunch of foreign languages.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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