Lost in translation
When I said you should
grab the bull by the horns,
I thought you would understand.
I never though you would
take it literally, as though
there is no such thing
as metaphor in Brazil.
What made it worse
was that you thought I said
you should grab the bull
by the balls.
Jon Plunkett, 2012
The grids arranged with lines and pegs, we cut
through turf and topsoil, expose each stratum,
scratching cautiously, guided down by plumbs.
The layers are flecked with human detritus.
They offer up enigmata, half clues
to what is past, bits of leather, glass, pots,
hair and bone, wantonly discarded or lost
by the careless, or carefully laid out.
We hold the fragments to the light, inspect
them from all angles, fill out rough sketches
into portraits of long departed others.
Come night we don’t know if we recollect
or invent them; they look like us, these wretches.
Listen now, someone is digging above us.
Tim Turnbull, 2010
The Poem Goes to Prison (SPL 2010, ed. Kate Hendry)