NaPoWriMo April 5, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 5

The prompt for April 5, 2018 reads as follows:

“Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English translation (maybe cover it up, or cut-and-paste the original into a new document). Now start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.

photo credit Norm Swaebe



Half Human

These branches, their crooked bends
shaped by water, touched by the wind
and river drift
rest here just a moment.

Echo the shape of arms shading
under a tent of tree bark,
a being half tree, half human passing judgment
on us here.

Nothing written in your wood.
Nothing that whispers your name.


Carol A. Stephen


I used a poem written in Portuguese, which can be read in both languages at the link below.  I did not include it here to ensure no copyright infringement.

© 2011, Karinna Alves Gulias
From: Maria de Graça
Publisher: Editora Multifoco, Rio de Janeiro, 2011

2 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo April 5, 2018

  1. This is beautiful, Carol. I admit that I found this prompt too daunting for my taste on a day when I had other things that consumed much of my time. Whatever your source poem, you’ve created something special with it.

    • Thanks, Barb. I like doing these “translation” poems. I figured Portuguese was something I wouldn’t be auto-translating since my Spanish is rudimentary and Portuguese has a lot of diffrerences. I took several languages in high school, but so long ago that only French remains somewhat with me, since it appears every day in Canada even if only on the backs of packaging! ~ C.

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