Tuesday, 5 April 2011

It takes Two to Tango

It's tractor season.

Taking Misia to school this morning, there were two tractors working in tandem in one field, whilst another was working alone in another. By the time I got back, one of the pair had separated ...

Soon after, moving back to join its partner. Life's a Tango.

Not every one has a partner,

But then on the horizon, someone appears,

Moves close enough to touch,

But goes straight past.

Then stops, watching the dancers.

I had the tango on my mind. Pacze Moj has set himself the task of correctly translating a Polish song into a rhythmically rhymed version, which must be pretty impossible. I wish him luck. Actually, I want to give it a try when I have time, but it will be more an attempt at interpretation rather than translation: I want to bring out some of the emotions resulting from the cultural context, which would have little literal impact on a foreign audience.

Some texts - songs, poems, books - are probably untranslatable. Listening to music whilst painting the hall, an example came on. Laurie Anderson's 'It Tango', from her first, 'Big Science' album.

The words were fascinating, with the ambiguity of 'just' immediately hitting me: "just like a woman" meaning both "typical of a woman" and "fair and reasonable like a woman". The use of the word 'it' also seems to be used ambiguously, being both non-substantial - "It's just like a a woman" - and specific - "It's hard", although exactly what 'it' is, is unclear. Maybe life's just and hard: "Life Tango". There's lots of other nuances, which reading the words - my understanding of them is shown below - may actually hide.

She said:
It looks.
Don't you think it looks a lot like rain?

He said:
Isn't it?
Isn't it just?
Isn't it just like a woman?

She said:
It's hard.
It's just hard.
It's just kind of hard to say.

He said:
Isn't it.
Isn't it just.
Isn't it just like a woman?

She said:
It goes.
That's the way it goes.
It goes that way.

He said:
Isn't it.
Isn't it just like a woman?

She said:
It takes.
It takes one.
It takes - one, two -
It takes one to know one.

He said:
Isn't it just like a woman?
She said ...
She said it.
She said it to know.
She said it to no one.
Isn't it.
Isn't it just?
Isn't it just like a woman?

You're I.
It's a day's work,
To look into them.

Your eyes.
It's a day's work
Looking in to them.

I think the rhythm works as a tango, but the only one I really know is from the film, Scent of a Woman.

The plot of the film helps creates the feeling of two ordinary people dancing rather than anything virtuoso, but this is the real thing.

Strange though, I had the idea that tango dancers, separated and came together again, with that being the reason why there are so many references to life being a tango. So what is tango?

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