“Son, I am a mother- I cannot help but worry about you! You are not eating enough in the Golden Land!”
“Mama, you don’t understand. Food is so plentiful here that we throw it away! In a land of plenty, it’s hard not to take things for granted.”
“That may be, Son, but I am so sad that you are clearly deprived of sleep. You seem so tired that your face is as dark as the night!”
In trying to “translate” this poem to prose, I only can attest to the impossibility of the task. Too much is lost in translation. Perhaps the most important thing lost via the poems translation is the rhyme. Though the Introspectivist manifesto described rhyming as unnecessary, it also said that it “is good only when it is well-placed, when it is woven naturally into the verse.” I believe this poem epitomizes this notion. The AABB rhyme scheme of the poem gives it a certain rhythm that embodies the back and forth dialogue between the mother and son. Even more importantly, the rhyme does not sound forced- though the text must adhere to the rhyme scheme, Margolin has masterfully made it seem that the rhyme is merely a coincidence. As I tried to rephrase each line, I felt that I was only writing a less perfect version of Margolin’s words.
“In the Golden Land” is a beautiful conversation between a mother and son. In true Introspectivist fashion, as a poem, this text not only depicted the words spoken from each character, but it captured the depth of their inner emotions and thoughts. After translated into prose, the dialogue sounds more realistic, but it loses expression of feelings. In this sense, would analogize my prose version of this poem to the straightforward, conversational dialogue of Brenner’s “Nerves,” and Margolin’s poetic version to the more informative and expressive “quasi-dialogue” of Bergelson’s The End of Everything.