For this last half year I have been troubled by the disease (as I may call it) of translation; the cold prose fits of it . . . are always the most tedious with me . . .
—John Dryden, “On Translation”
Cold prose fits, wrote Dryden. Yes, but where
does it fit? Oasis in the desert:
hot paroxysms, steam of poetry,
mirage evaporating like a puddle
too shallow to drink from. But it glistens
until it morphs to drifts and mounds of snow.
The impudence of morning, calm and pink.
What was all that rumbling in the night?
Where are the crags and barricades? The white?
Heavy ploughs are clearing avenues
for the day’s transition to cold prose.