to balance an algebra not meant to be solved

When we absorb images, dance or music from a culture outside our own, we may project substantial misinterpretations, but it is also possible to receive the sense of what was intended: a face, a fright, an ode. A written poem in a foreign language is inscrutable. Someone has to ferry it across the difference... To translate a poem faithfully is to balance an algebra not made to be solved; a task for which it does not hurt to invoke the primordial spirits.

- Sadiqa de Meijer, from the essay "stilte/silence" in her essay collection alfabet/alphabet.