The Dante translator John Ciardi wrote this little poem as a reflection on the nature of language, and the difficulties of translation:

My mother facing a day in Avellino

Tasted it: una dolce giornata.


My wife’s mother in Protestant Missouri:

Judges it: it is a good day.

Think of the vast cultural differences these imply. Two ladies of the same generation, both confronted with a pleasing day. The Italian Catholic lady tastes the sweetness of the day; the American Protestant lady judges the goodness of the day.

UPDATE: The point for Ciardi is the difficulty in translating the language and poetry of one culture into another culture. The words we use to talk about things frames the way we think of them, often in ways we’re only dimly aware of, if we’re aware of it at all.