But the nagging feeling persists.
It is because we know that poetry, and indeed all literary writing, is so deeply invested in the specifics of its original language that its very existence is a product of it. A thousand native readers might have a thousand interpretations of a work in the original but their interpretations are likely to overlap as in a Venn diagram. That overlap wouldn’t be the definable something we are looking for but it is not nothing.
Instead of asking what is lost then, we might begin with the Venn diagram, with what identifiably remains. The essential remnants are likely to consist of events. A narrative in the simplest sense is one action followed by another.
That much is simple. Those are the bones of the text.
Then comes the flesh. Then the organs. Then the heart, whatever heart it is, the heart where we differ.
– George Szirtes
A Pound of Flesh, The White Review no. 12