Sometimes I paint, untranslatable words…

 Raðljóst: (Icelandic) enough light to find your way by.

In February of 2014, I started writing a poem a day from an untranslatable word. Meaning, a word found in another language that doesn’t exist in English. My only qualification was that the words were single words, not phrases, and only one compound word, mbuki-mvuki made it, because I loved its meaning so. Mbukimvuki (Bantu). The clothes shucked off in order to dance.

This February, I find myself painting from untranslatable words. The painting above, I have named  Raðljóst Strasse, meaning the street with just enough light to find your way by. I had started the painting a couple years ago and ditched it to a closet when my office was being torn apart and rebuilt. It wasn’t done, and it wasn’t until I came across the word Raðljóst that I knew what the painting was missing.

That was yesterday’s painting. Today’s painting is the word Belum (Indonesian): not yet, perhaps, hopeful wish.




March of 2015, My book of poems, Untranslatable, was published by North Star Press, Minnesota.

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