Parc Monceau

Translating Juan Sánchez Peláez is partly a method for reading his work more closely. But it becomes very difficult when I realize, for instance, that there are venezolanismos and idiosyncratic words that I won't be able to recover in English. The lines I spoke of recently, from his 1981 collection Por cuál causa o nostalgia, are as follows in poem "XVIII": "y caminan a menudo / de costumbre / entre cosas casuales y jamás vanas / en honor del hombre y la mujer / por un viejo parque / donde se miró Verlaine."

Which I would initially render as: "and they often walk / out of habit / between casual and never vain things / in honor of man and woman / through an old park / where Verlaine was glimpsed."

But the tone has vanished, the magic of that park and the resonance of Verlaine's presence there after many decades, these have been marred in my English. So the version is undone and re-written, hoping to evoke a specific view. Which coincides with what I remember of the Parc Monceau in Paris, which we stumbled on by chance, after walking down a long hill back toward the river and our hotel. Its ancient trees and comfortable black (green?) benches. What I choose to and am able to translate from JSP's poems sometimes depends on personal resonances, vibrations (again) that make sense in both languages.

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