mercredi 21 janvier 2009

Les Maudites (The Damned)

This is a first translation of my French poem, Les Maudites. I have decided not to worry about end rhymes and schemes, which are exact in the French original, or the eight-foot meter with which I so vehemently struggled. One day perhaps, I or someone else may attempt to transform the poem into English with its essential rhyme and meter; but for today, I hope I have captured some of the mood and subject matter. I simply want as many people who may be interested to be able to read it, for I am very happy with Les Maudites, although I confess I shall be working on it for a very long time to come with the help of my friend and French editor, Annie Griolet, à qui je dois un grand remerciement.


Another cycle of hard nights
How I hate my overripe soul!
Lack of the sun in winter
Makes empty the severe trees
And makes a double pain in the heart

You see that a ghost watches over me
From September to mid-January
The call of a friend does not sound
Nor arrive the steps of anyone
Of the silent sister-soul

These gray skies doubled with clouds
Cannot penetrate our rages
The houses must be heated
But a long cold remains in the thoughts
Awakened our worst fears

Thus here is this somber poem
But another winter without blame
One remains indoors in prayer
Awaits the lover murderer
Knocking at the door of pain

She cries my name without stop
In the streets and in the forest
I search my bed for some sleep
She seizes upon my instep
She becomes accuser

"You never knew to love me!
You left me to go away!
In this shit you wallow
And left me for another!
I will haunt you when sounds the hour!"

Each night she comes without blow
And enters my bed step of the wolf
She kisses me on the lips
After breaking all my porcelain
She leaves me at dawn, thief

I can no longer breathe in short
My heart she breaks once more
Without light she rapes me
Like an old animal
She plays me like a pointsman

At the end of winter she leaves
Without a word of adieu delicate
My chills do not stop
At midnight exact I am there
I await my precious ravisher

She comes no more, to you I swear
I have only my fresh sweats
I rolled the dice on silk
Awaiting the better of me
If she does not come, I will die

Now it is I at the door
In the depth of dead winter
No one is left inside
While I cry out with passion:
I dissipate at dawn in fury

8 commentaires:

r. walker a dit…

laura,
great poem!...i know you originally wrote this poem in french. if a poem can be judged on the emotional effect it has on the reader, i would rate this poem a ten! it must have been utterly devastating in french, because it is utterly devastating in english. in fact, i am now devastated...i'm afraid i can no longer function...

Moineau En France a dit…

mon homme! je t'aime comme ton fantôme personnel! (my man! i love you like your personal ghost!) thanks for your support, darling. xoxoxox

Anonyme a dit…

Wow! I'm left feeling both sadness and aroused in some weird way. very passionate very sad. You are an awesome Poet! Just wanted to add my two cents. I really admire your talent.

enudelman a dit…

magnificent, Laura; this is a poem to be read in one long inspiration and then, after reading, one may breathe out the breath of relief. Wonderful contrast of inner angst and outward, visual imagery. I was impressed by how the translation gives the poem a certain 'otherness,' which I very much like... perhaps a non-pretentiousness (if that's a word). And poets who translate have an added dimension, and a very powerful one, into the life of language. Great job, Laura!

Moineau En France a dit…

i appreciate that so much, ed, because to be honest, i am very unhappy with the translation! because it lost the structure of the original but i still tried to be faithful to the words, i feel it is stilted somehow, lacking tone, which may to one who is only reading the english may sound like an "otherness" or remoteness.

i have two options besides simply leaving it as is: either find someone to work the translation from a new perspective or do it again myself, a bit more freely this time so that i can work in end rhyme. but perhaps what i need is some distance from the poem because i am bit obsessed with it.

try, if you have the time, to compare the two versions, and you will probably see how much stronger the poem is in french. i think you will like it very much due to the structure, and then, please, send me your impressions again, either here or in an email. i need some support because, oh dear, i'm obsessed with this poem and its problems! i worked for 10 days and nights on the french, so i have a substantial emotional investment.

but again, thank you so much and love to you! i keep trying to take in these positive comments but the translation, and even some lines of the original, keep "haunting" me lol. xoxox

enudelman a dit…

I'm afraid I can offer no assistance with the French version... but you should give it week, then attack your first revised English version with abandon... it will come out, eventually, just give it time.

Moineau En France a dit…

GREAT ADVICE! i shall do just that, ed. thank you! xoxoxoxoxo

Mary Stebbins Taitt a dit…

A very powerful poem--I wish I had the skills to read and appreciate it in French.

I can see a few rough spots in English, but once those are smoothed out, it will be as fabulous in English as I imagine it is in French.