The third part of John Simmons's exchange with the Bolivian poet Edwin Gomez, looking at Gomez's poem 'La Cholita de San Simon'.
I'm having to take my 'translation' of La Cholita slowly, held up by the Free the Word festival, my computer dying and, inevitably, my lack of Spanish. But it's an interesting challenge, to worry away at the meaning of this poem. I'm not sure if what emerges is true to the original but I hope there is some meeting of minds. Perhaps I just write into it the meaning I wish to see there but it creates something new, that wouldn't be there without the prompting of the original. The original text becomes a catalyst.
Here's my version of the next stanza in Edwin Gomez's poem:
And so you are my cholita of San Simon
So strong, so brave, my lovely dreamer
Waiting for the end of your class
So we can stroll together through the gardens of San Simon
Anxiously waiting for the break
Scattering seed corn in your earth
Making me into corn whisky.
I've no intention of translating 'cholita'. It's a word that exists more powerfully in its own tongue, containing nuances of meaning through the culture that produced it. In itself it's an argument for making the effort to cross the bridge into another language, another culture.
(Read parts one and two of this exchange.)