White Plate On A White Tablecloth (NaPoWriMo Day 8)

after César Vallejo

I will dine in Paris, on a rainy night,
on some night I can already remember.
I will dine in Paris—without reservations—
perhaps on a Thursday, as today is, in spring.

It will be a Thursday, because today, Thursday, sitting down
at this cafe, I have an empty belly,
and today like never before I have found myself
with all the menu in front of me, to choose.

Karin Wiberg is full. Everyone fed her
though she writes no reviews to help them;
they fed her bread with butter and also wine

with her meal. These are the witnesses:
the Thursdays and the rain,
the menu, the order, the belly…


Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo.net was to re-write a famous poem. The suggested poem was “Black Stone on a White Stone” by César Vallejo. Here are two translations, one by Robert Bly, one by Rebecca Seiferle. (I have to admit I feel a slight bit guilty taking such a light-hearted approach to this exercise, as the original is quite dark.)

2 thoughts on “White Plate On A White Tablecloth (NaPoWriMo Day 8)

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