I was delighted to take part in what turned into a group-translation party on Facebook recently, curated by Dave Bonta of ViaNegativa, a blog that I've been following for years. What started as an expression of frustration at his own attempt to translate José Santos Chocano's poem El Sueño de Caimán – "this poem is kicking my ass" – turned into a workshop, as several poets with varying degrees of Spanish fluency tried their own hands at the translation. I'm convinced that this is is one of the highest uses for social media. You can read the whole series at ViaNegativa. Here's mine:
A great log, hurled by waves
ashore, the caiman lies stranded:
spine of jagged mountains,
an abyss in its jaws, the fearful tail.
The sun drapes it in brilliance,
shining like an armored knight,
this plated beast whose thrum
and glare shimmer the air.
Steady as a sacred idol,
girded tight in mail and chain,
he waits by the water, still and grim,
a prince, enchanted,
imprisoned now forever
in the limpid palace of the tide.