“I chose to translate my tattoo in Spanish because I’ve studied Spanish since I was four years old. It’s been a part of me as long as I can remember. Two summers ago, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain; this fall I will be doing my student teaching in a Spanish-speaking country. Because I am a music education student, choosing ‘on harmony’ was a way for me to bring together many aspects of my life: music, Spanish, and working for Kentuckians For The Commonwealth.
The preposition ‘en’ in Spanish has the curious ability to translate both as ‘in’ and ‘on’ in English, depending on context. Another option for the translation of this phrase and the preceding line would be ‘las lecciones / de armonía’— literally ‘the lessons of harmony.’ This translation, in fact, would be the more common way of saying this in everyday speech. I chose to translate it as ‘las lecciones en armonía’ because I believe it better retains Frank X Walker’s poetic intention. It both means ‘lessons on harmony’ and ‘lessons in harmony.’ Last fall, my work with KFTC centered on voter education, registration, and empowerment. KFTC strives to build New Power that will make Kentucky a better place for all people. The work I’ve done with them and the work that they continue to do to support fairness and equality for LGBT people, women, and people of color, as well as restoration of voting rights, illustrates how we as Kentuckians and as global citizens can begin to pass ‘the lessons on harmony.’”
Note: Austin got his tattoo before we published a translation of Frank X Walker’s poem in Spanish. The two translations differ. We believe the sentiment is the same.
Also: Like all the other photographs of LLTW tattoos sent to us, Austin’s photograph will become part of the video artwork we will premiere on Winter Solstice Day, Dec 22, 2015. Here is a minute-long preview–check it out!