Breaking down cultural barriers
Transposer une culture dans une autre par delà les barrières culturelles

Friday, 8 January 2010

Vehanoush Tekian - TO NAYRI

Not all ponies are made of wood
not all wood are toys
not all houses are home
all children are child
and they love mimes

A mime has one color
and three noses
The first is his natural nose
the second his own--
the mimic nose on top of the natural one
the third is to smell the children's laughter
a nose exactly twice the size of our own nose
and not to be seen

Again mistaking the world for a farm
you've scattered your things around
the elephant's detached trunk
Sheila's belt
Teddy Bear's ribbon
and your Anna's ironed clothes
I adore your Cabbage Patch
born in Japan with Indian-colored hair
and your surname
light-green dress
light-green smile
you used to be exactly that size

You've kicked the large ball
to a corner of the yard
is that a thing to do?

The snow comes down like ice-cream
not all balls withstand snowstorms
and why should they?
It should be brought in
and stored in a warm place
Father Christmas will arrive with jingle-jangle
he's got it made
not just reindeer
he has red-nosed reindeer
not just a sled
he's got a sky-spanning
roof-top sweeping sled

To both the good and the bad
he sings all the winter songs
he brings warmth

Father Christmas is a merry man
we expect his giving and his going next year as well

Where is Mother Christmas?
We're out of our minds not to ask her anything
while she asks us so many questions
before the ball!

You've opened your book again
to count one to ten--
One Indian Two Indians
all those Indians have such round eyes
bands around their heads
they're also cuddly
somehow I think they've been designed wrong

The counting of one to ten
when you've learned it
you'll find the world a bit more complicated
there will be law more than order
you'll no longer ride your wooden pony
you will not tail the giraffe with an elephant's trunk
you'll no longer say that the light-green dressed doll
has a light-green smile
you'll say yes for no
no for yes
--the important thing is not to forget to say no—

Now you know that lentils are good for you
so are kisses so is orange-juice
later what's good and what's bad for you
will often be the same
you'll get off the play-ground choo-choo
and get into grey machines
and I shall miss the sand
the sun and your restless little feet
and a long time will go by
until you learn that the ugly duckling
is a beautiful swan

Keeping the huge yellow shoe of Mickey Mouse
tucked away under your bed
on your warm pillow
you sleep tight counting on daylight's rescue
oblivious of course that at this moment
in a thousand locations on this globe
the wolf deceives Little Red Riding Hood
the ugly duckling feels abandoned
on a freezing lake
the panther devours the deer
the deer molests the bird
a king does evil deeds
the giants are all dead
Cinderella cleans the house
and does not get to the ball

Why do you have to learn one to ten?

Vehanoush Tekyan
Translated by Tatul Sonentz

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