cloud table:inter prestation





light-bearing months; burnt out, used up, exhausted, passed by

heavy grey clouds twisting, cajoling, traveling along the route of back-lit, illuminated, golden-edged time

passed, exhausted, used up, burnt out;  visual border between heaven and earth compensated, forfeit.





inter: put into the earth

prestation: the obligation to perform or not perform a duty

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.


  1. This is Wonderful, Bonnie! You have fleshed out your ‘spent time’ while retaining all of the style and structural integrity that held it together so tightly in the first place. An example of how a translated poem can become something different without losing any of what the original author intended? And your choice of inter prestation! seems to suggest, if I follow that line of thinking, that it’s ok to use a series of words (in a direct translation) to clarify what one original word had been used in its time to express, even if it’s at the expense of a syllable count. It’s not like the translator is under the obligation to use just the one closest word that we have in our time to replace the one that the author chose for a reason?

    1. Thanks for stopping by and so glad that you liked it. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I love using words that have more than one meaning to make poems that can have multiple interpretations – translations. The syllabic restrictions of the first poem made it into a ‘seed’ / interred; so, I thought of this one as a blooming of that poem with all the individual words unfurling to create the same semantic density but with a different shape.
      Prestations is interesting, in italian, the verb ‘prestare’ regards loaning and borrowing – something that we do to words, we lend and borrow meanings. While in english the word ‘prestation’ is legalese – much more restrictive. I liked the idea that, as a reader of cloud table:spent time, I could be both duty bound to interpret and/or not interpret those interred words. If you’re in the mood you are welcome to extrapolate either of these cloud tables. It would be interesting to read new versions.

  2. I missed this when you first posted it – possibly because my wife and I went on holiday for two weeks to Lago Maggiore and didn’t check the internet!
    I love these lines – perhaps especially ‘visual border between heaven and earth’.
    But which skies are the model here: those of the southern Alps, or those of Texas?

    1. I’m so sorry that I didn’t know, my husband, daughter and I live just 10 min. from Lago Maggiore and it would have been a pleasure to have a coffee!
      The Texas sky certainly has a more horizontal horizon but in the fall and spring when the clouds roll down from Monte Rosa and touch the surface of the lake it’s much the same.

      1. Thank you Bonnie hat would have nice!
        Do you know, I would guessed the skies were very different? I have a niece who lives in Austin so I must ask her. (She is an artist and craftswoman – perhaps a kindred spirit – who has a blog that might interest you: )

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