Everything Behind Me, I See…

There will be a day soon when old translations, flawed though they may be, will defy the odds and return to meaning—pages falling at the feet of reckless students, word-scraps carried on the wind like newsprint. Cicero will get tangled in your hair: a room without books is like a body without a soul… Montaigne catches on your wrist: My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened… I wish I could tell you more but there’s little enough to say, the dead stick around for better or worse, words poorly understood always plot their homecoming. I say they come back before sunrise. The Finnish poet Saarikoski, a great translator wrote: “everything behind me, I see, is just death, but when I sleep, I sleep…”

 

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