Jim Murdoch has, in my opinion, written an excellent review of John Kinsella’s The Jaguar’s Dream.
English is a square hole that we resolutely try to hammer round pegs into. And that is what another Australian poet, John Kinsella, has tried to do with his new book of “Translations, Adaptations, Versions, Extrapolations, Interpolations, Afters, Takes and Departures.” In The Jaguar’s Dream he takes poets from a huge range of backgrounds and eras, beginning with the Grecian poet Alcman who lived during the 7th century BC and ending with a couple of trans-versions of fellow Australian Ouyang Yu’s poetry. In between there are large chunks of Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Villon, Leconte de Lisle, Baudelaire, Cros, Rimbaud, Rilke and Mayakovsky. An eclectic mix; let’s put it that way. My first thought when I flicked through this was: Who exactly is this book for? — Jim Murdoch
Rather than offer a commentary of my response to Jim’s review, I figured I would instead try putting my hand to a reversion of one of the poems that Jim discusses the transliterated merits of in his review: Rainer Maria Rilke’s Die Irren up against Kinsella’s The Lunatics. So here it is, Jim. Frederiksen’s version!
COULD BE MISTAKEN
And they hold their tongues, for the switch to open plan
negatively impacts private conversation,
and hours, even when they come to mind,
(as garage doors) go up and down.
Most often at night, when they wind down the window:
all at once everything’s sweet as!
Their hands are caressing the concrete,
with a heart so high it could swear to a treat,
and rest their eyes
on the open spaces, often left unspoken,
of gardens on roundabouts growing their own
merry way in the headlit reflection
of possible worlds and still staying grounded.