Jonathan C. Stalling translating Arthur Rimbaud

I raced, stained by the moon’s electric
爱  日北四大, 四大北那大 八爱  浊舌呀 么  马乌乌那’四   弟拉也吃丝卡 
fragments, timbers crazed, black sea-
发日言言哥马么那台四, 台丝丝马八么儿四   卡日北浊四  大, 八拉言卡   四弟
horses as my escort, July’s battering me—
哈够日四么浊四    言浊四   马爱   也四卡啊日台,扎乌乌拉爱’ 浊四    八言台么儿冰   马弟— and turquoise skies with ardent funnels—
言那大  台么儿快噢一浊四 四哥爱浊四     袜丝呀舌   啊啊儿大么那台  发么么那么么了了浊四 ——
while I shivered, sensing from a distance
袜爱爱了了  爱  山丝浊发 么儿大 , 四也也那四冰  发日么么马  么   大丝四大么么那四
Behemoth’s rutting moans, crude Maelstroms,
八么哈弟马么 呀舌  ’四  日么台冰  马狗那四, 卡日乌大  马北拉四车日么么马四,
the eternal spiders spinning azure immobilities—
浊舌呀 么  弟台么儿那么么了了四怕爱大么儿浊四    四怕丝那冰  言 浊山 么儿   丝马狗八言言拉丝台弟浊四  ——
I longed for Europe and her ancient parapets!
爱 拉方大 发狗儿  压乌日么怕  言那大 哈么儿 北那车么么那台 怕北北日么怕也台!  
I saw the archipelagos of stars! islands with 
爱 四啊  浊呀舌么  啊啊儿儿卡么怕也也了了么么哥狗浊四     么浊发    四大啊儿浊四   !  爱爱了了么么那大浊四   袜丝浊呀舌
frenzied skies—open to the traveler—gold 
发日也也那浊四  弟大  四哥爱浊四  -够够怕么那  台乌  浊舌呀  么  车日言 浊发 么拉么儿——哥够了了大 
birds in the millions were my future impulse. 
八么儿大浊四    么那   浊舌呀 么   马丝丝了了压么那四   袜么儿  马爱  发压乌车么儿  丝马怕么了了四。 
In night-fathoms will you sleep in exile?
丝那  那爱台 -发言浊舌呀 么马浊四    袜丝了了  压乌  四拉弟怕  丝那    也卡浊四  爱了了?

Translator's Note:
In this reworking of Rimbaud’s “The Drunken Boat,” I wanted to set the poem adrift through a disordering of the senses corresponding to systems of writing (alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies) which create the conceptual foundation for imagining languages as irrevocably separate from one another. I believe that we can access forms of linguistic synesthesia that will free us to see different writing systems not as walls between but bridges into other languages. To rehear/see one language written in the script of another is akin to shifting senses to encounter a phenomena that is simultaneously the same and totally different (as touching, seeing, and smelling a flower). In this work I have transcribed an English translation of Rimbaud’s poem provided by the Drunken Boat editors into a Chinese-character-based writing algorithm I created over the last three years, which I call Sinographic English. Unlike the system I used in my book Yingelishi, the script below sequences English speech sounds at the level of phonemes (individual sounds) rather than morphemes (in the case of Chinese full syllables). In short, this poem is English, just not through the same Romanized senses. 

Jonathan C. Stalling

Translator Bio:
Jonathan Stalling is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma specializing in East-West Poetics, Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies. He is a founding editor of Chinese Literature Today magazine and book series (University of Oklahoma Press) and the Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive and the founding director of the MAE Poetry Reading Series. His books include Poetics of Emptiness (Fordham University Press), Grotto Heaven (Chax Press), Yingelishi (Counterpath Press), Winter Sun: The Poetry of Shi Zhi (Oklahoma University Press), and he is an editor of The Chinese Character as a Medium for Poetry (Fordham UP). His book Lost Wax is forthcoming from TinFish Press. His TEDx talk introducing his Sinographic English project can be seen here: