By Thomas Page
This is a series of poems of words that do not directly translate into English. I have tried to capture the essence of the word in a poem.
Everyone expects the weekend to mean something more than the week
Because we are not bound to the rock of the workplace
That weights us down like rusty anchors forgotten in shipwrecks.
However, there is too more emphasis on these 48 hours–
The wasting sands in the hour glass creating mirages in cycles;
Samsara, the colored Mandala swept with sandy hands
Only to begin again with the echoes of Sisyphus’ laughter and his boulder racing down;
The bucket with its deluge of the seas seeping out.
Might as well throw it out with the bath water–
Suds and infants in all–
And consign the feeling that the lofty plans of hikes and summits
Were just walks and hills in the first place
And open a bottle and soak–
The lizard at the zoo under the lamp–
And try to chill
Just for this moment
Language of Origin: French
This will be the last poem of the Untranslatable Series. For the last couple of years, I have been dedicated to a couple of poetic series, such as the Alphabets and the Poetry Prompts, but this has been my favorite series that I have written. Based on my count, there are 50 poems in this series with “Hyggelig” being the first to debut on the website in December ’18. 50 is a good, round number and a good place to stop. Moreover, many of the words I find online have English equivalents or are the same word as one I have already written about. There is one word that I did not write about (“Cafuné”) which is really more of an experience with someone in a private sense than in a poem. I tried to write about it but you can’t put into words a moment that is like that and what I wrote was more of a reflection of myself and my being rather than a universal poem that I was going for. You’ll have to either learn Brazilian Portuguese or experience it for yourself.
I was inspired to do this series based on an article which had several of these words on it like “Komorebi” and “Mångata” with illustrations. These illustrations is what made me remember this article about 5 years after I had read it because it gave the words some context. I wanted to give the same context and feeling for these words. I think that the success of this venture varied poem by poem but I feel that this series was something that really showcased my thoughts on poetry being a universal experience of the human condition. It really was fun to see what concepts are so common in some cultures that it requires its own word. As I am writing this, I think there should a word for when your cat wants to sit on your computer when you need to type. If someone knows if there is a word like that, please let me know.
In terms of what will come after this, I will probably not write anymore series for a while. I feel like my other series blended into each other, at least for me. I attempted to start another series prior to writing this but it was more of a rehash of what I have written. I’m going to focus more on standalone poems and other types of creative writing such as fiction and dramatic works. I have some projects in the works which might be something unique and something may want to read or even watch. Who knows?
I think all people are poets in some capacity and that they show this in a variety of ways. As I have seen in looking in other languages, poetry is an extension of what some people call the intellect, others the soul, and others the brain. Whatever you call it, our ability to express ourselves if what makes us distinct as a species. Other animals may have brighter colors or sweeter calls but humans are the only animal that can describe heartbreak, joy, sadness, and victory in such a way someone can just a word and know. There may be millions of stars in the sky that we cannot count but humans have millions of words to give them their own story.
October 19, 2019