Today's poem

Conflict in mind between Welsh and English is reflected on Lewis' poem. Her interest is overlapped to mine.

Mother Tongue

by Gwyneth Lewis

'I started to translate in seventy-three

in the schoolyard. For a bit of fun
to begin with - the occasional "fuck"
for the bite of another language's smoke
at the back of my throat, its bitter chemicals.
Soon I was hooked on whole sentences
behind the shed, and lessons in Welsh
seemed very boring. I started on print,
Jeeves & Wooster, Dick Francis, James Bond,
in Welsh covers. That worked for a while
until Mam discovered Jean Plaidy inside
a Welsh concordance one Sunday night.
There were ructions: a language, she screamed,
should be for a lifetime. Too late for me.
Soon I was snorting Simenon
and Flaubert. Had to read much more
for any effect. One night I OD'd
after reading far too much Proust.
I came to, but it scared me. For a while
I went Welsh-only but it was bland
and my taste was changing. Before too long
I was back on translating, found that three
Languages weren't enough. The "ch" 
in German was easy, Rilke a buzz...
For a language fetishist like me
sex is part of the problem. Umlauts make me sweat,
so I need a multilingual man
but they're rare in West Wales and tend to be 
married already. I only I'd kept
myself much purer, with simpler tastes,
the Welsh might be living...
                               Detective, you speak 

Russian, I hear, and Japanese. 

Could you whisper some softly?
I'm begging you. Please...'

(from the 2005 Issue, Poetry Kanto/ポエトリ関東