Poetry: Match a Photo to a Poem (78/365)

by Lee Santiva March. 19, 2019 822 views
Blue Butterfly on my watch

Blue Butterfly on my watch

All poems are a matter of interpretation however I think this poem is fairly straightforward. Butterflies are always in motion and even though they may pause for a few seconds, they always take flight again. A butterfly landing on my watch is a fitting symbol for the ephemeral joys of life as expressed in this poem.

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 is my favorite German writer and poet. In my second literary attempt this week, I translated his poem into English myself since I could not find an official translation anywhere

Blue Butterfly translated by Lee Santiva

A small blue butterfly fluttering

carried by the wind

An opalescent quivering,

sparkling, shimmering, fleeting.

In the blink of an eye

Just passing by

I saw happiness wave to me,

sparkling, shimmering, fleeting.

This poem was set to music and was recited by the very talented singer Annett Louisan (2 minutes) https://youtu.be/rMfTKG0MDiw

Original poem in German

Blauer Schmetterling (1927)

Flügelt ein kleiner blauer

Falter vom Wind geweht,

Ein perlmutterner Schauer,

Glitzert, flimmert, vergeht.

So mit Augenblicksblinken,

So im Vorüberwehn

Sah ich das Glück mir winken,

Glitzern, flimmern, vergehn.

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There are 15 comments , add yours!
Jay Boggess 2 years, 6 months ago

Perfect match of image & verse!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 2 years, 6 months ago

Lee your translation in my opinion is very good, you seem to have been able to keep the rhythm. I watched the video as well, also nice. Perfect photo matched perfectly to a poem. Bravo!👏

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Camellia Staab 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you very much Camellia. Do you know German? 
In one of your blogs you wrote that you were a retired schoolteacher, did you teach language arts or literature by any chance? It‘s a huge compliment and I very much appreciate it.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 6 months ago

Lee in my other life I was an English/Literature teacher at the high school level. I do not know German, but do speak French, English, Farsi and occasionally been known to speak some Italian words as they come back to me from way, way past when I was fluent in that language as well. I have been exposed to many languages because of extensive travel when I was younger, therefor occasionally I can pick up words/ nuances when people are speaking and somewhat understand what they mean.  For example right now as I type this for some weird reason the German word "bitte" Don't ask me why that word popped but it did  smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Camellia Staab 2 years, 6 months ago

Your comment/compliment now means even more to me coming from an „expert“ in literature. 
Danke 🙂

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 6 months ago

Lee.....don't go to far now. By no means am I an expert.😉

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Björn Roose 2 years, 6 months ago

I've always found it a very hard thing to translate poetry. Rhythm and wording combined, you know. And translating the long German words to the short English ones is definitely not something I want to do (it's easier with German - Dutch), because you can't separate the rhythm and wording in a beautiful word like "Augenblicksblinken". But your try ain't bad and the photo is good smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Björn Roose 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Björn!  Making the lines rhyme, have the same rhythm while keeping the  same meaning all at the same time is really hard, so I'm glad it was a short poem smile
Just like in school I should get "extra credit" for the translation since that wasn't part of the assignment smile

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

Lovely photo,here they are much more shy.  Did you start with the poem or the photo. Like the idea

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Peter! I looked through English language poems and had some initial ideas however the photos I was taking to fit them weren't working out. Then I looked through my collection of Hesse poems to figure out if I already had some photos which might fit and then I found Blue Butterfly and remembered this photo from a vacation many years ago.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 2 years, 6 months ago

I love the photo, and the poem! Hesse is one of my favorites, but I was not familiar with his poetry. What a treat this was!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Bethany Plonski 2 years, 6 months ago

thank you Bethany!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Bob Rosenberg 2 years, 6 months ago

What a great capture and also very interesting colors on the butterfly.  I was riding with our horse camping club recently and captured a similar photo (tho not as good as yours) of a butterfly landing on the finger of a lady riding next to me.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Bob Rosenberg 2 years, 6 months ago

thanks Bob! Horse camping sounds like great fun. I tried it once about 25 years ago and loved it. Today my back and rest of my body would suffer if I slept on the ground in a sleeping bag. That's been my observation that when butterflies land on people it's their arms, hands and like you said, the fingers

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Bob Rosenberg Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 6 months ago

Sleeping on the ground?  This is not that kind of club necessarily.  Although there are a few who sleep in tents, most of the group either have horse trailers with living quarters in the front, or like me - RVs.   Mine has a queen size bed along with a bathroom and shower. smile  We also have a fantastic cook (with a crew) that we bring to every trip.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
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