Linh Dinh

Rookie - 0 Points (1963 / Saigon, Vietnam)

Death Will Come With Your Eyes

Poem by Linh Dinh

Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.

For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We'll go down the abyss in silence.

(A translation of Cesare Pavese's Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi/translated from the Italian by Linh Dinh)

Comments about Death Will Come With Your Eyes by Linh Dinh

  • Linh Dinh (8/3/2007 8:40:00 PM)

    Hi Denis Joe,

    You wrote: 'The style is radically different from your own voice.' In that sense, I'm successful, because I believe a translator should be more or less invisible. He's there to serve the poet he's translating, not to corrupt the other poet's style with his own.(Report)Reply

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  • Joseph Daly (8/3/2007 7:56:00 PM)

    I did read this in the original. I am not an Italian speaker but I wanted to get the sound of the original in my head. It is only at this level can I compare.

    There is a beauty to this that is timeless. You have dealt with the English very well and constructed a fantastic portrait. I believe that translations are the works of the poet who is translation. The Scottish poet, Don Patterson, recently brought out his 'version' of Rilke's Orpheus Sonnets.

    This is your version of 'Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi'. The style is radically different from your own voice, because this is not just your voice. Translations are two voices speaking as one. And I feel justified saying that about this poem.(Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Poem Edited: Sunday, March 13, 2011