Marianne Musgrove

When the Moon is Swimming Naked

Whenever I read the English language version of a poem by, for example, the fabulously-named Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska, I wonder how it is translators manage to convey the essence of the original poem as they cross the river from one language to the next.

Cover art for poetry anthology, When the Moon is Swimming Naked, featuring picture night sky with picture of the moon.

I’m fortunate enough to be part of a project that has attempted to do just that. Mark Carthew (based in Australia) and Kit Kelen (based in Hong Kong) have brought together a bunch of Australian poets and Chinese translators to create the collection, When the Moon is Swimming Naked: Australasian Poetry for the Chinese Youngster (ASM Poetry, Flying Island Books).

Now Chinese and Australian children can enjoy this very cool collection of fun, lyrical, mysterious, realistic, fantastical poetry featuring contributions from such poets as Claire Saxby, Mark Macleod, Mark Tredinnick and yours truly.

I’ll update this post when the collection is available for sale online. Till then, here’s one of mine!

Brave Borrower of Books

I’ll lend a book to you provided this:
I wish to see it come straight back
And smudged with grubby prints

I want to hear you read it on the bus and in the bath
I want to find you read it with a torch beneath your quilt
I want to know the tale enthralled
You didn’t sleep till 12 a.m.
And then, exhausted, bent the cover underneath your head

I have no time for prissy, pristine readers
Who loiter at the edges in their gloves
You must immerse yourself
Leap fully clothed
Then come up
For Air

Just grant me this eccentric guarantee
And you may choose a book or two from me.

— Marianne Musgrove