Pale Cast

Day 21 NaPoWriMo 2020

(Photo by Aashish Vaidya)

Pale Cast

The subconscious mind intends

A potent, but merciful, rosy scene


Nearby, the desk portrait decays in blue light,

My soul freezes at every lore That Man concocts

And my face goes raw.


The camera captures my chiseled face in forest

But my last photograph doesn’t flatter

even in profile.


Now tuned into pandemonium bereft of data


misguidance makes even the sun ebb

In a pale cast.


Cast normalcy

aside and doubts linger.


Notes:  Day 21 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  Today’s prompt:

“….asks you to make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice. As an example, here are the first four lines of a poem by the Norwegian poet Gro Dahle….”

I picked a poem Underneath Me in Romanian by Domnica Drumea.  Here’s the original:

sub mine se întinde

o pată mare şi roşie

nu mai pot trăi decât cu lichide

mirosul frigiderelor pline cu mâncare

îmi face rău

închisă în camera fără ferestre

mă las fotografiată din faţă

şi din profil

tu n-ai iubit pe nimeni niciodată

mă ghidez după sunete ca un orb

îmi păzesc castronul

castronul meu gol

şi lingura mea docilă


Here’s my first translation which was pretty jumbled up:

What the mind intends

a potent mercy rosy

near my portrait decay blue light chide

My soul frigid every lore feline cue man cares

In my face raw

In chisel face in camera in far forest

My last photography didn’t flatter

Is the profile


Tune in, albeit pandemonimum a bit per no men niche data

misguidance dupes the sun at its ebb

In my past cast null

Cast null my goal

See linger my do silly


Here’s the actual translation by Anca Barbulescu:

underneath me

a big red stain spreads

I can only live with liquids

the smell of fridges full of food

makes me sick

locked in the windowless room

I let myself be photographed from the front

and from the side

you never loved anyone

I guide myself by sound like a blind man

I guard my bowl

my empty bowl

and my docile spoon


It seems, Maureen’s (Thorson) gone back to 2013 NaPoWriMo prompts for many of the inspiration for 2020 prompts.  So if you’ve made it this far, here’s my 2013 NaPoWriMo poem on the same prompt.  I looks like I picked Gro Dahle’s poem in 2013.  In re-reading the poem, I think I like how it turned out.

Crypto Floriography

Day 11 NaPoWriMo 2020

(Photo by Aashish Vaidya)


Crypto Floriography

Burrowed, deep in mud
at night, only to slowly,
in morning, emerge,
unsullied, above water,
delicately beautiful.

Plucked freshly from pond,
roots dripping in mud, clenched bud
now fully open.
Those assembled seem confused
at Buddha’s wordless sermon.

Seeing a simple
object of immaculate
beauty, within few
moments, a disciple smiles,
as the meaning dawns. Pure Zen.

Notes:  Day 11 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  The prompt “is based on the concept of the language of flowers. Have you ever heard, for example, that yellow roses stand for friendship, white roses for innocence, and red roses for love? Well, there are as many potential meanings for flowers as there are flowers. The Victorians were particularly ga-ga for giving each other bouquets that were essentially decoder-rings of meaning. For today, I challenge you to write a poem in which one or more flowers take on specific meanings. And if you’re having trouble getting started, why not take a gander at this glossary of flower meanings? (You can find a plain-text version here). Feel free to make use of these existing meanings, or make up your own.”

Recounting Buddha’s wordless Flower Sermon, where he holds up a flower.  The act confused all the disciples, except one. Seeing the gesture, Mahakasyapa, smiles and is immediately enlightened.  Though, modern scholars believe the sermon is most likely an invention, it is illustrative of Zen Buddhism, with its emphasis on the experiential over dogma or doctrine.


Relevant to the prompt – the flower held up by Buddha was a lotus.  A zen master would invariably think the thI suppose I should have tried harder, instead of coming up with three tankas to depict the Flower Sermon – in this the flower being lotus – Nelumbo Nucifera, typically, a symbol of purity. It has various meanings to many asian religious traditions, including Buddhism.  The picture is one of yellow flower, typically the Indian Lotus flowers are usually pink.