Eden Falls


It must be an ancient place,

the way the mountain has eroded,

maybe sacred once to one tribe or another

in a time when life was simpler, more elemental,

and still it feels like a sanctuary–cool, dark, and silent,

but for the soothing fall of holy water,

and the avian choristers’ anthem.

Translucent green leaves filter the sunlight,

dark branches like the leading

between colored pieces of stained glass

telling old stories too distant to easily believe.

Like an empty cathedral, a tranquil, reflective space

that fills with one’s own belief or doubt.

But these stones were never hewn by human hands;

there’s no need for a preacher’s pulpit or bishop’s chair,

or even the allusion to some lost paradise

from which this place takes its name,

because divinity comes here

to touch the earth, to breathe the air,

to mingle with the waters.


Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper


I’m attempting to learn Danish, so just for fun (bare for sjovt), here’s my attempt at a translation into Danish:

Eden Vanfald

Det kan kun være en gammel sted,

på grund af hvordan eroderet bjerget,

måske hellige en gang til en stamme eller en anden

i dag da levet var enklere, mere elementære,

og stadig er det som en helligdom—

kølig, mørke, og næsten stille,

selvom den beroligende falde af helligt vand,

salmen sunget af fugle.

Gennemsigtig grønne blade diffunderer sollyset,

deres mørke grene som bly

mellem stykker af farvet glas

at fortæl historier for lang væk til at tro nemt.

Som en ledig kirke, et roligt rum som fyldes op

med mands egen tro eller tvivl.

Men disse sten blev aldrig skåret

af menneskers hænder;

der er ikke behov for prædikants eller biskops stol,

eller for allusionen til nogle tabte paradis

hvorfor den tager dens navn,

fordi kommer guddommelighed her

til at røre jorden, til at trække vejret i luften,

til at blande med farvandet.




“Non ti amo come se fossi una rosa di sale”–translation of Neruda’s “No te amo como si fueras rosa di sal”

I don’t usually do translations, but I’m taking an Italian film class in which we read Neruda’s poem in Spanish and English in conjunction with a screening of Il Postino, and I wanted an Italian version and couldn’t readily find one, so I decided to do my own. This is my Italian translation of Neruda’s poem beginning “No te amo como si fueras rosa di sal” in Spanish and “I do not love you as if you were a rose made of salt or topaz” in English. (I don’t know the name of the English translator; if anyone does, please let me know, and I will give him or her the appropriate credit.)


Non ti amo come se fossi una rosa di sale, topazio

o frecci dei garafani che propagano il fuoco:

ti amo come si amano certe cose scure,

segretamente, fra l’ombra e l’anima.

Ti amo come la pianta che non fiore e arriva

dentro di se, nascosta la luce di quei fiori,

e grazie al tuo amore vive scuro nel mio corpo

l’aroma soffocata che é salita dalla terra.

Ti amo senza sapere come, ne quando, ne di dove,

ti amo direttamente senza problemi ne orgoglio:

ti amo perche non so amare d’altra maniera,

altrimente di questo modo in cui ne sono ne sei…

tanta vicina che la tua mano sul mio petto é mia,

tanta vicina che si chiudono i tuoi occhi con il mio sonno.


Poem by Pablo Neruda

Italian translation by T. Allen Culpepper, 2014

Note: Thanks to Pam Chew and Bev Bell for helping me correct some minor problems with pronouns and articles and such.