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The work of translating
Is a painful, grinding work

The messenger
Bears the weight of desire
Of two strangers full of language
Full of all that language conveys
Desire, Feeling, That Which Is Important

The translator must
Take the heartbeat of one
And articulate this heart
To an alien. And back again.

And both sides become alien.
The translator himself
Is the most painful mixture
Of shadow and alien and friend.

He becomes a tool
A clumsy mechanism
Wielded ever more forcefully
As misunderstanding begins

The message is not his
And yet
He becomes mother and father
To words that are not his own.

He knows the desperation
That only the one in the middle
Crushed between longing and longing
Can know

Since nothing hurts more
Than trying to understand
And nothing hurts more
Than coming face to face
With the incongruity
The grand canyon
Between the other and the I

Words which we count on
Which we have come to put
The weight of our lives upon
Are shown here
In the process of translation
To be have far greater cracks between them
Then we could ever know
Or hope to fix

The loneliness

The translator
Is the mediator
between loneliness and loneliness
Armed only with
Broken glass

We call language.

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