17 February 2013

Country Days

"Country Days"*
A poem written by a young soldier to his lover before he is to go to war to die for his country. Written in the Linear language (Linear being a place holder name). See if you can translate it.

I started this piece on 29 November 2012. It was for a poetry reading that was reschedueled for this week, so instead of rushing through it I took my time, which ultimately was better because it let me work out the word order properly. There are a few pretty obvious loan words and two odd phrases that are idiosynchratic in that they represent a much older version of this language. Interestingly, those quirks make Linear more similar to a natural language. Linear has an unexpected lyrical quality to it that makes everyday speech sound like poetry.

Due to its length, there might be a real chance someone could actually translate this. I am nowhere near proficient in this language (largely because 1. I have no one else to talk to, 2. I have no real imperative to learn faster, and probably most importantly 3. I'm not learning this like a natural language, I'm learning bits and pieces as I need them for specific writing projects). Writing something of this size, for me, would take a week if I really worked on it. It is not impossible for someone else to figure this out. Don't feel daunted by the magnitude of the task. Have fun.

(Yes, it is a totally different language, from a different culture. It is not just symbols replacing English sounds and words. If you try to read this thinking it is like English you will just get a bunch of nonsense.)

*In case you're wondering, the complete phrase "country days" does appear in the poem.