Little Little Men

After Alfonsina Storni

Little little men, little little men,

let go the fresh catch that wants to swim.

We are those fish, little little men,

leave us to swim.

 

We were in your net, little little men,

little little men who trapped us in nets.

We say “little little” because you don’t understand us

Nor will you understand.

 

Nor do we understand you, but meanwhile,

cut open for us the net from which we want to escape.

Little little men, we only wish to swim,

Don’t make us ask again.

 

Notes

In this poem, I try to mimic Alfonsina Storni’s piece “Little Little Man,” keeping the original form, with longing and repetition, but swapping “I,” a girl trapped by her once-love, for “we,” the fish caught in the net. Did I intend for the fish to function as a representation of femininity? Perhaps. I’m not sure if it comes across as such.

Writing “Little Little Men” proved to be more challenging than I expected, likely because Storni makes such simple language seem so complex. It’s a tough act to follow. My end result is extremely similar to Storni’s translation, though not quite as sophisticated. I attempt to explore themes of freedom without the complication of love.

JM

Image from http://suzou.net/

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