Housewife

The following are 3 poems, all titled “Housewife.” The first is the original poem I wrote. The second and third are poems I created by translating the original poem to Afrikaans and Xhosa and back to English again, and then editing what I got. This is part of a larger project I am working on where I have my work translated to Xhosa and Afrikaans, and edit the results. It is a fascinating way to create new poetry, and the possibilities from these two languages are almost limitless. I sometimes like to play with other languages, like French or Hebrew or Italian or Farsi, but Xhosa and Afrikaans are my favorite. What do these poems say to you? If you’re a housewife, or your mother was, how do these poems speak to your experiences with housewifery?

Grateful skirts swirl in a breeze maybe meant for them.

Design is Holy,

is enamored of its Designer,

is a crossroads of means and ends.

A housewife manufactures sunshine in her laboratory,

the beakers from the store always having a sale,

her thesis supervised by green,

and critiqued by her children.

After 20 years who will know whether the

skirts were mended or replaced?

Just that they were infused with laughter

and smelled like mother in the living room

living with her eyes full.

 

Translated into Afrikaans and Xhosa, then back:

 

Skirts twirl in the grateful air
they were meant for.

Design and the Holy Spirit,

are enamored

of each other.

Is the intersection of the cross where it all begins?

The woman who produced the sun in her lab,

is studying all the ways you make happiness from the mundane.

Her thesis is green from watching her children.

After 20 years will you know that

the aprons can be repaired or replaced?

You will appreciate the humor.

She won’t.

 

 

skirts and gratitude for the atmosphere,

either of them.

Design and Holy Spirit,

make enamored designs,

are the ends on the cross.

The woman who makes the sun in her lab,

Her laboratory in Delaware furnished by a company

in Hong Kong.

Her thesis supervision is green.

So is the clock looking at her children’s energy,

their youth,

her youth.

After 20 years you will know that

the skirts can be repaired or replaced.

As you appreciate the humor in

And sort mothers by whether they baked cookies or used the microwave.

In her eyes you live fully,

live fully alone.

Church

Church of memoir

of discovery

of chants.

Cloistered in my name are ten lives

I did not live

in favor of a sublime 11th.

What is better than best?

What can joy can be discarded for ecstasy?

The taste of salt lines my mouth

when I look back.

 

 

translated to Xhosa, Afrikaans, and back

Church of Love

 

I find joy

while I lay cloistered in my ten lives.

Auroras swirl beyond my reach.

They will not live.

There is a reason I am so inordinately fond of 11.

What is better than a lot?

 

Why have I ignored peace?

 

It tasted of salt in my mouth.

Power lines guiding me back home.

 

 

Church of Love

Separate the gaiety from the joy.

Lonely in my ten lives,

they live,

it is as though they live without me.

How do I dispose of gaiety?

Of me?