The Pearl


Simon Armitage’s award-winning translation is set side-by-side with the original, which creates plenty of opportunities for deciphering and comparing the older and younger versions of English. The original really rolls round your tongue. The translation cuts to the quick with grief.

The story starts on a beautiful August day…


 The pearl in question is the author’s daughter – he has a vision of her, so close, yet so out of reach.


The motif of love for a lost daughter as a spiritual journey probably was not new then and was taken up again later – as in the Polish sixteenth-century poet Jan Kochanowski’s beautiful Treny/Laments. Seeing a loved one out of reach in the beauty and glory of heaven, draws the writer closer to God. He even has a glimpse of the Holy City:


In the end, however, the poet has to return to earth for a little longer, but he is strengthened in his closeness to his daughter and to God, his “loving friend”.


I also found it comforting – maybe you will too.



Translator, editor, writer, reader

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in books, faith, poetry, translation
One comment on “The Pearl
  1. […] fabulous rhythm and alliteration. I’d also loved Simon Armitage’s translation of the Pearl. Now, ten years after it had been published, was my chance to read his […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Children's Books China Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Danish Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award English Estonian Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hungarian Iceland Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Irish Gaelic Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Norwegian Old English Olga Tokarczuk Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary Penguin PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Salla Simukka Second World War Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson transation Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing YA

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: