Hwaet

I started reading Beowulf once again,

And once again I wonder, “What’s it mean?”

It isn’t Beowulf that puzzles me.

It’s “Hwaet!” This copy says, “Hey! Listen up!”

another “Yo!” another “Pay attention!”

My favorite is “Shut your stupid mouths!”

 

Hear me! about translation’s double bind.

 

Translation’s double bind is like the joke

About the farmer and the tourist who

Is lost and asking how to get across

The lake. The farmer thinks a bit and then

Announces that there ain’t no way that he

Can get there. Roads are closed. There’s been a slide.

The river’s washed another road away.

 

Something’s always lost along the way.

The problem is that synonyms do not

Exist. There isn’t any word that means

The same as any other. Teachers lie!

The denotative properties of words

Prevent equivalence, are slippery,

Sleazy weasels. A house is not a home;

Not necessarily. Of course

It could be. Couldn’t it? Or am I wrong?

Where do I go if I go home again?

And is my destination just a house?

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