Tuesday, November 01, 2005


An N.O., USA

By Sophie Bodegon

Sie haben die Windungen meiner Fluesse
gerade gelegt

das Wasser meiner Marsch
austroknen lassen

die Macht meiner Stroeme

Naja, bis Morgen
wenn Katrina kommt.

You are wondering why I have a German poem in my blog for English students. Sophie Bodegon, who founded Philippine News and Features, is currently Asia Secretary for United Evangelical Mission, working with the churches in the tsunami areas of North Sumatra, Nias, Mentawai and Sri Lanka. She wrote the poem, she says, while studying the German language in Germany, where she is currently based. I asked her to translate the poem for me into English, and she did:

To N.O., USA

You have
straightened the curves
of my streams
dried up
the waters of my marches
held captive
the power of my rivers

Oh well, till tomorrow
when Katrina comes.

A poem in any language, you see, is still a poem. If you've been my student in English 11 and listened to me well, you would know why this is a well-written poem.


Franz said...

Hi ma'am... Francis here, your former student in English11. My teacher in comparative lit 50 (Paolo Manalo) asked us whether poets should be more socially-sensitive, thus write more poems about nation, and social issues, or whether poets should stick to the "art for art's sake" line of thinking.

My take on it is that poetry is part of literature. Meaning, it is a mirror of society. At the same time, being in the humanities domain, it should celebrate the accomplishments of humanity.

As such, i believe in pluratiy of poetry. While I recognize poetry is an art with its own craft, it also is part of a society. Thus, while society is undergoing changes, poetry can't simply talk about how lovely the nature is, etc. It must document society's 'state' at the time it is written as well.

mda said...

You are right, Francis. Reality is too complex to be confined to one realm. Poetry reflects all of reality. Therefore poetry must reflect not only society but the the internal world of art. There is no contradiction between the two. There is even no contradiction between universality and particularity, because they are two opposites of the same phenomenon--man's perception of reality.