Part four of John Simmons's exchange with the Bolivian poet Edwin Gomez, looking at Gomez's poem 'La Cholita de San Simon':
This seems to get more difficult as it goes on. Perhaps that's just the nature of poetry rather than any linguistic discovery. The poet is getting more and more absorbed in his love for la cholita, perhaps with undercurrents of other emotions too. There's apprehension there, an uncertainty about the nature of the relationship. If he loves her, does she love him? Or is that still to come? The uncertainty is increased by the translation difficulties. In a sense it's up to me to make this decision, as if picking petals off a daisy, she loves him, she loves him not. Here's my attempt at the third stanza.
Your long, thick, black braids
Quick-flick playing with them
Your embroidered blouse
Everything tells me it will be hard to keep you at my side
While you dance in your pollera, your pleated skirt,
Oh to have such a woman, such a symbol of my pride.
The next stanza looms before me like the Andes. How to cross these words? I can see them, I know many of them, but they seem impenetrable - how to find a way through?