NaPoWriMo / GloPoWriMo 2018 – Day 5 – “Spectres Of Speeches And Letters” by David Ellis

Howdy friends.

I’m still in catch-up mode, so here we go with the next poem, let’s hustle!

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 5 was to take a picture and apply our feelings of the picture to a poem that is written in a foreign language and we should translate the foreign poem into English based on rhythm rather than accuracy of the translation.

I find this whole process a little odd and strange, something that requires plenty of abstract thought and layer after layer of editing until it reaches some semblance of cohesion. The results are quite fascinating though it must be told.

So, here is the original poem that I used as inspiration and if you choose to do this yourself then may I suggest hunting for a small poem rather than a long one to make things easier on yourself! 😉



Senza mai vera pace,
torno anche stanotte ai miei fantasmi,
ne ascolto la voce ipnotica, rupestre,
che a poco a poco si fa una e penetra
le imposte, fuori tempo, inarrestabile.
È bastato che morissero i miei,
e i ricordi
sbattono le ali, uccelli neri
che mi osservano, più vigili di un faro,
da un cielo ulteriore, interiore.

filtrata l’aria Kierkegaard mi appare,
spettro fluttuante fra lo specchio e il letto
che apre le porte dell’Incomprensibile.
Mi parla, scavato dall’angoscia,
e io rimango lì, sospeso a mezza via
in uno spazio ostile fra discorsi e rimorsi.
Poi la sua gobba si trasforma in una nuvola.
La nuvola,
in un punto di domanda.
Chiudo la luce.
E tutti
-mamma, papà gli uccelli, Kierkegaard
la nuvola io stesso-
ci inabissiamo dentro a un’altra oscurità
che non so dire.


And here is my interpretation of the poem, as I badly try to translate it into some kind of intelligible English that also suits the theme of the photo prompt – tally ho! 🙂


Photo by Ryan McGuire at

“Spectres Of Speeches And Letters” by David Ellis

Life at our own pace,
turning artistic expressions into a myriad of fantasies,
no choice but to accept their hypnotic voices, resplendent,
from place to place, they fascinate, penetrate
impossible to ignore, fast-paced, irresistible.
It basically means everything, the world to you and me
we are enriched
battling our way through, understanding nuances
to those who observe us, if you fight, then make it fair,
what matters most is what’s inside that counts.

All those who choose to improvise
filtering out Earth’s apprehension towards man and woman,
see spectres flutter, flailing, filling their heads with speeches and letters
As we approach the doors of incomprehensibility.
We stumble, scavenging for all the answers,
the fruits of knowledge go rotten for revenge
a hostile, fragile discourse of remorse.
Pondering our transformations from the hunter to the hunted.
The hunted,
A person in demand.
Clarity makes us lucid
and terrified
mother, father are both guilty of understanding Earth’s ire
being hunted is stressful
a blissful journey into the realms of obscurity, if we continue our attacks on Earth’s natural resources
yet if we change our ways and soon for future generations, things are not so dire as they first seem.


Still want more? Well how about some Day 5 entries of other talented poets who know it and aren’t afraid to show it! 🙂 Check out the links below for more NaPoWriMo goodness.

2. ORDINARY AVERAGE THOUGHTS – National Poetry Writing Month 2018, Day 5 – Wichita
3. grapeling – it could be that – skip / 5
4. fresh poetry – transfiguration
5. Scrambled, Not Fried – Same Old Ennui
6. erbiage – Hafat allugha
7. erbiage – Oneday morning
8. palimpsestic possibilities – the bedroom
9. Jane Dougherty Writes – Snowy garden
10. Unassorted stories – The hellcats
11. Voiceless Fricative – Books on Love
12. Brittany’s Blog of Random Things – In the Flat
13. RIVRVLOGR – pyrotechnical
14. Ladyleemanila – E is for Epulaeryu
15. 1st Non-Manuscript – Charlene Delfin’s second blog – Day 5: Connection
16. method two madness – Is That a Human Voice? (after Toshikazu Yasumizu)
17. MY FEELINGS MY FREEDOM – NaPoWriMo Day 5: Trampled by the World
18. WHAT LIFE SAID TO ME – NaPoWriMo :Day 5- A Norwegian Poem In My Words – The Eyes Tell A Story
19. Moonshine Noire – Sometimes Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines
20. words in your eyes – NaPoWriMo 5
21. Voyagedesmots – Giardino Maria Luisa Fagnocchi Rava
22. Author Emily Ramser – the dangers of do-it-yourself dentistry & forestry
23. NAPOWRIMODREAMINGPATH – Day Five – The Saddest Lines
24. Flutterby’s NaPoWriMo – 2018 DAY 5 – THE AIR
25. What Rhymes with Stanza? – NaPoWriMo, Day Five
26. KATIE STATEN – NaPoWriMo #5 – The Nature of Cats
27. JIM’S LITTLE PHOTO AND POEM PLACE – NaPoWriMo 2018-05 – Day 5, a Poem for Love’s Weather
28. Zouxzoux – Water Magic
30. RIVRVLOGR – A BIG BANG – a mistranslation
31. LILLIAN THE HOME POET – With Apologies to Pablo Neruda
32. this and other poems – 5/4
34. Thoughts of Words – Stranger
35. ARHtistic License – Center of the Universe
36. Poetic Pixels – My Squirrel
37. Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings – Horizons: NaPoWriMo, Day 5
39. inktuition – a poem for curtain up
40. Rhyme and Reason – Poetry Meets Film Reviews – Munyurangabo (2007)
41. Purple Mountain Poetry – DAY 5: THE OTHER END OF TOMORROW
42. Summer Blues – A Poetry Blog – The Voice of Things
44. Poetry by Hasen – Crossing Trunks
45. WORDS FROM A LYDIAN WORLD : – NaPoWriMo Day 5 – Inspired by Magnus SIgurdsson’s Vertrahugur
46. kavyastream – Undulating Fields
47. TAROT PROSE – The Lives Of Bones
48. Art is Work – Laura Accerboni – I Wear Translation
49. barbaraturneywielandpoetess – Reverie
50. My Author-it is – Trying to Do the Write Thing – Photographic Evidence


14 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo / GloPoWriMo 2018 – Day 5 – “Spectres Of Speeches And Letters” by David Ellis

    • You’re very welcome Jane 🙂 I had tried this exercise in the past but I didn’t ‘click’ with it until this time round where I really tried to see if I could do it a line at a time and take the piece into abstract places. I also had to skip over a couple of words or take liberties to help the flow of the poem but now that I feel I have mastered the technique, I’m very keen to do it again. It amuses me a lot to see how we sound out and interpret different languages when we don’t know their meaning. I think for these types of exercises, it really helps to not know any of the language (or very little). I’m fascinated how well the translation looks yet how different it is from the true meaning. 🙂

      • What I noticed reading some of the other poems was that most people completely disregarded the words of the poem they had chosen and simply wrote a poem about the image. When a phrase was repeated in the original, obviously to give it emphasis, or a song-like feel, each refrain would be ‘translated’ differently. Maybe because I’m interested in language and how it works, this kind of disregard for the intention of the original language baffles me. I chose Swedish, and although I don’t know any Swedish, some of the words look close to English words. I ‘translated’ them as if I knew what they meant. I wouldn’t have had a clue how to do this prompt using a language, or an alphabet that was completely alien.

      • Yes, I totally agree that when I was doing it that I had two conflicts mashing against each other, in that do I write the meaning based around the picture or go with the feel of the words. There was a lot of push and pull and TBH I think next time I have a go, I will do my own translation like you suggest and then add a picture afterwards that fits the translation rather than mashing the two together. Also, if you are interested, I’d be happy to do an Author Interview with you too regarding all of your books 🙂

      • They are two totally different mechanisms.
        That’s kind of you to offer an interview. Can we hold fire on it a while? I took down a whole series of books from amazon because the publisher of my YA series said they would like to have them, plus the follow on series. They pulled the plug on the project, mine and all the other subs they had in, leaving me with the job of republishing them all. I still haven’t had the heart to do it. Maybe soon. For the moment, I’m just extremely depressed an disillusioned about the whole writing business.

      • I’m so sorry to hear that Jane about your publisher, that sounds really awful. I’m sure that you can bounce back with it all and as soon as you do, I’d be honoured to give you an interview. Take all the time you need and I’ll be here for you when things get sorted. In the meantime I look forward to featuring more of your poetry throughout the month of April.

    • Yay, that makes me so happy Angela. Just you wait until I start filling each of my days with even more links when I have arranged them all, you’ll find several times the content cropping up, even on earlier days of the month 🙂

  1. Honestly, this makes me contemplate not so much relationship challenges, but the state of political discourse in our nation. Very evocative:

    “We stumble, scavenging for all the answers,
    the fruits of knowledge go rotten for revenge
    a hostile, fragile discourse of remorse.”

    • TY for taking the time to read and comment on my poem Shannon, I really appreciate it. I must admit that is my favourite line of this poem too and how it rolls off the tongue 🙂

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