Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral

by Lucila Godoy Alcayaga

Start Free Trial

Rewrite "Richness" in your own words in the form of a prose paragraph. Then in a second paragraph try to articulate what your paragraph left out. What gets lost in translation? What you have done in paraphrasing the poem is remove many of its formal and poetic devices. What do these devices contribute to the meaning of the poem or the experience of the reader?

RichnessI have a faithful joyand a joy that is lost.One is like a rose,the other, a thorn.The one that was stolen I have not lost.I have a faithful joy and a joy that is lost.I am as rich with purpleas with sorrow.Ay! How loved is the rose,how loving the thorn!Paired as twin fruit,I have a faithful joyand a joy that is lost.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At eNotes we can't answer your homework questions for you, but we can give you some guidance so that you can write them yourself. The response below is intended as guidance and to give you a starting point from which to develop your own ideas. If you decide to use any of this response in your own homework submission, you will need to cite eNotes as the source. All eNotes work is easily traceable from any internet search engine.

The poem rewritten as a prose paragraph might look something like this:

I have two joys, one which is faithful and like a rose, and one which is lost and like a thorn. I am rich because of the faithful joy, but just as sorrowful because of the lost joy. The rose, which is the faithful joy, is loved, and the thorn, which is the lost joy, is loving. They are inseparable and co-dependent. One can not exist without the other.

When the poem is translated into prose like this, it of course loses at least some of the rhythm the poet likely intended it to have. The first four lines of the poem, for example, have a regular syllabic meter, meaning that each line comprises a similar number of syllables. This lends a rhythm to the lines which perhaps reflects how the thorn and the rose exist harmoniously, and equally, one inseparable from the other. Although I have tried to make it clear in the prose translation that the rose and the thorn exist harmoniously, I have not been able to echo this sentiment in the rhythm of the language.

When you write your own prose translation of the poem, you might also want to consider the significance of the words immediately before and after the line breaks in the poem. The word "lost," for example, appears four times at the end of a line, and the brief pause which follows the word each time means that the word resonates throughout the poem.

In your prose translation, you might be able to place this word four times at the end of a sentence, but the pause created by a period is not quite the same as the pause created by a line break. The word "lost" in a prose translation might, therefore, not have quite the same impact, or resonance, as the same word in the original poem.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team