Monday, March 31, 2008

four Tran Da Tu poems

[ Note: This post will contain several asides or insides or whatever-you-wish-to-call-them remarks which will be enclosed by brackets. Over at the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog Linh Dinh has shared his translations of four poems by Tran Da Tu after a short introduction. I am grateful. May you also be. ] "Love Tokens", "Toy for Future Children", "Fragmented War"; "Standing" are the four poems. Ostensibly these are war poems, but they are not so in any sense I am accustomed to. Linh writes: "His war poetry reads as if it was written, well, right now." Yes it does, and I think I know why. The angles of vision the author takes/ raises them to a different order, an order I am calling the deep within, which has nothing to do with the idea of "deep image" but everything to do with the human spirit. I first read these poems several days ago, and have read them twice since. The second time I read them/ Celan and Adorno came to mind, but I'm not equating Tran Da Tu with Paul Celan and I'm not stopping at Adorno's hard after-Auschwitz thought. [Notice what these poems are devoid of.] The poet here is speaking from the spiritual in him to the spiritual in each of us / all of us. The facts in the poems are not merely there for factualness. Each poem is addressed to a someone or a group, but only through pronouns and general nouns. This distancing reveals empathy. Beneath the facts, Tran Da Tu's attention is on the will- ingness of humans to harm each other, to perpetrate evil acts which are presently visible and which have conse- quences forever imaginable; and the suffering and unto- death sadness resulting therefrom. [Sartre wrote: "Hell is other people." My response and David Bromige's response: "Heaven is other people too."] [Jesus: ". . . love your enemies. . . ." / and in that prayer to the Father He taught to his disciples: "And forgive us our trespasses as (emphasis mine) we forgive those who trespass against us."] You want Armageddon. We do not need Armageddon. We are Armageddon, and until we cease lording it over each other/ we will continue to be Armageddon unto our extinction. The A- and H-bomb horrors will seem as nothing once the robot armies we create figure nearly everything out, and turn on us. That is, if we even make it/ to that juncture. Can a poem change one's life for the better? Yes, but I cannot promise any will. Certainly, for those who are open to it in them, these poems have the power to. ~ Rho00047

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