a news-inspired verse translation

photo: punch_ra / pixabay

Olympic bronze-medal winner Tamás Kenderesi of Hungary was arrested in South Korea last weekend, after competing in the World Aquatics Championships, for alleged inappropriate touching of a young local woman in a night club. The celebrated poet János Lackfi wrote a poem in Hungarian about the incident which immediately went viral. Below is my translation:

Ballad of the Ass-Grabbing Champion

South Korea sure ain’t next door,
I feel so neglected here,
My soul is bare naked, bleeding,
I might as well disappear …
Amid my cosmic loneliness,
Fell into a deep crevasse. …


NCiR’ digest-in-jest April — July 2021

John Watson Nicol — The Court Jester

Esteemed Fellow Punsters and Rhymologists!

we turned two, two months back
blink and you missed it —
to reflect on it now
I cannot resist it

from the
get-go your
poetic gyrations
surpassed all my
wildest expectations

dropping this mid-month
for a slight change of pace
what all y’all have gifted us
with, let time not erase

keep your verses
flowing, you
bards and
bardesses —
sans those
straight-laced
verbal harnesses

Highlights of this past cycle:


photo by the author, Pleasantville, New York

the typographical convention that could


a verse translation of “Ki mondja meg” by Zsuzsa A. Túri

artist: Manuel Ramat

Who will tell me which path to take,
how much I’ll bear, before I break?
Who will help me, if politely
I implore them to oblige me,
show me how I can survive,
do, believe, keep hope alive?
Who will help, when all of my dreams,
all my treasures spill at the seams?
Whom to look to, whom to address
for my grievances to redress?
Who will stand by me when I’m lost,
who will help to carry my cross? …


verse translation of a poem by Krisztina Tóth

artist: James Mayhew

The whale she journeys out
to waters dark and gray
sings to herself once the
shoreline is far away

Greenland tides echo her
songs for two hundred years
harpoon marks on her back
unknown, her thoughts and fears

what do her songs convey
why and to whom she sings
frigid arctic currents
carry her fluid hymns

intricate melodies
coursing beneath the ice
ambergris vignettes does
her balene brain devise

the whale she weaves her dreams
her body twists and rolls
her silky body scraped
by craggy hidden shoals

the whale she wallows in
sadness as dense as she
her body commingled
with her…


a disturbance of the peace

by Joe Váradi

Gurl.
Yes, you,
elbow deep in
that bag of Doritos
diagonally across from me
on the 6:13 out of Grand Central, in
the six-seater bulkhead row of the quiet car.

Yes,
you are
consuming
with blithe abandon
The. Loudest. Possible. Snack.
foil rustling, corrugated chips crackling.
Have I mentioned yet that this is the quiet car?

And
that’s
not even
the worst of it.
My fellow rail commuter,
my insatiably ravenous travel companion,
you, Miss, have a vile and despicable personal habit

I
kid
you not,
every time
Every. Goddam. Time.
after you reach into that bag,
and place another morsel in your…


a verse translation of a poem by Domokos Szilágyi

Van Gogh — Sunflowers (1889) / Wikimedia Commons

I’m alone, as the golden yellow
sunflower patch’s lonesome sorrow,
as one begot to life down and low,
to voice words lax and loose,
thus by the fistful I’ll dispense them,
my glossy grains — onto rocks barren,
or fertile soil, treasured therein — 
as destiny may choose.

As one begot to life down and low,
I’m alone, as the golden yellow
sunflower patch’s lonesome sorrow — 
as destiny may choose.
My words — my blood I dispersed loosely,
I replied, though no one implored me,
(such was my lot) hapless and clumsy,
one forever accused.

Alone, toward the sun…


a vignette translation

Robert Berény: Woman Playing Cello (1928)

poem by Zsuzsa A. Túri, translated by Joe Váradi

You know
it’s all been
written
countless
times,
no
matter
how you
craft those
lines,
or
weave your
fanciful
vines,
every
sentence
a
chain-bound
sentiment,
every
phrase
a
time-trapped
experiment…

the original:

Tudod

Tudod,
mindent
megírtak
már
százszor,
a
szavakkal
te
akárhogy
játszol,
képzeleted
is
akárhogy
táncol,
minden
mondat
láncra
verve
lépked,
minden
sor
időbe
zárt
kísérlet…

I’ve used Robert Berény’s distinctive paintings for other translations:


an acrostic ‘golden shovel’ poem

artist: JannikR64

P eriscopes raised, sweeping, surveying round
E very angle, straining atrophied nerves the
R etinas of the lucky, the few, take in decay
C aved-in civility, strewn-about cadavers of
Y oung and old, who marched to the beat of that

B rave new world, of hubris colossal
Y et went down with the epic wreck
S quandering reserves thought boundless
S ixty days huddled in the bunkers … and
H eat from the Blaze still lingers, laying bare
E very extinguished hope the

S urvivors dared to keep alive, lone
H omesick with no home left and
E xiled with no place…

Joe Váradi

Editor of No Crime in Rhymin' and Language Lab | the Woke Bloke ..."come for the sarcasm, stay for my soft side"

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