mercredi 28 janvier 2009

Les Maudites (The Damned Women)

This is a second translation of my French poem, Les Maudites. I have decided again not to concerm myself with the exact end rhymes nor the rhyme scheme nor the eight-foot meter of the original, but to proceed even more loosely than i did with the first translation. This one, I think, is much more successful than the first.

cycle of hard nights
How I hate my ripened soul!
The sun is missed in winter
Emptying the severe trees and
Creating a double pain in my heart

You see a ghost watch over me
from September to mid-January
Calls never come from friends

Nor the steps of anyone
Nor my silent sister-soul

These gray skies doubled with clouds
Cannot penetrate our rages
Houses have to be heated
But a long cold remains in our thought
Awakening our most terrible fears

And so this somber poem
Again another winter without blame
I remain in prayer on bended knee
Awaiting the lover-murderer
Knocking at the door of pain

She cries out my name without stop
In the streets and in the forests
I search my bed for rest but
She seizes upon my instep
She becomes my accuser

"You never knew how to love me!
You left me! You went away!
In this filth you wallow!
You left me for another!
I will haunt you when the hour sounds!"

Each night she comes without a blow
And silently enters my canopy
She kisses me on the lips
After breaking all my dishes
At dawn she leaves like a thief

I can no longer breathe as
Over and over she breaks my heart
She rapes me in the dark
Like an old animal
She plays me like a pointsman (without direction)

At the end of winter she parts
With no sweet word of goodbye
My chills never stop
At midnight just I am there
Awaiting my belovèd ravisher

I swear! she does not come anymore
I have only this fresh sweat
I rolled the dice on silk and
Awaited the better part of me
If she does not come, I will die

Now it is I at the door
In the depths of dead winter
No one remains in that house
As I cry out with all my passion, then
at dawn dissipate in fury

Couverture, La Belle Edition illus. Edouard Chimot

6 commentaires:

enudelman a dit…

yes, in my opinion this version flows much better, the syntax is more easily understood and I believe you've brought some of the imagery into more contemporary language, which I like. Good job with this, Laura!

Brenda a dit…

What a haunting poem! I've read it a few times, finding the angst moving through it appearing and disappearing like a dark ghost of pain. What you are living through. Oy. I love the passion of your writing, the intensity. This is life lived at its bare edges, without let-up. Powerful, strong stuff, Laura. Thank you for posting a link at facebook. hugs, Brenda xo

Moineau En France a dit…

ed, thank you for all your support with this poem. you know, you really helped me when you said, "you're writing in english now, dearie!" i loved that! and you were absolutely right. xoxooxox

brenda! i'm so glad to see you! thank you for your words and your support. "oy"–absolument! this was an important poem for me, both the french version, structurally and in my first time use of a dictionnaire des rimes, and in the art of translation, which becomes especially hard, i think, when it is one's own work, ie, there is more poetry in making sense of a french idiom than in the idiom itself! but how much closer can anyone come to what the writer means than the writer herself? thanks again for reading me! it's a big thrill! ~lt xoxoxoxox

Mary Stebbins Taitt a dit…

Yes, I agree with Ed here, this does flow much better! There are still a few inversions, but they work better here, now! Ed's right, when you make the transition to translation, if English is the new language, the poem must work in English and it is working much better.

It is passionate and intense, and you have not lost that!

Boris a dit…

First of all, my apologies for my tardiness Laura!

This is indeed a very mysterious piece with Poe-sian echoes. I wanted to first comment on the language used.

These are some of my favourite lines:

"Creates a double pain in my heart": an interesting and powerful expression, that can have several interpretations.

"Not my silent sister-soul": a potent choice of words that evokes vivid imagery.

"These gray skies doubled with clouds/ Cannot penetrate our rages": very effective lines

"Awaiting the lover-murderer/ Who knocks at the door of pain": superb! love the "lover-murderer" juxtaposition - very eerie; the second line is a great extended metaphor.

"my belovèd ravisher" - again, the juxtaposition of beloved with ravisher creates a creepy effect

The last verse is a killer! Not only does it provide a great twist and makes us see everything that went before from a new perspective, but it does so with superbly expressive language. I particularly like "dissipate in fury" - powerful stuff.

Well, this certainly is a great piece Laura, a ghost tale with a sting in its tail, thus providing double the shock!

I think that it also can support another interpretation, namely that this is a description of a person grappling with their inner Shadow, with their dark half, of being persecuted from within and how, as time progresses, they come to identify more and more with their Shadow, until the roles have swapped and they become the Shadow themselves.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, my own boris! i appreciate so much the time you took with this review, it made me feel so good! and i love your interpretation, it is also superb! i've come to see it as being about deep loneliness in the middle of winter. indeed, no one calls or comes to the door but the ghosts of the past (in one's head)! i love how the ending came out, another disembodied voice. thanks so much again, dear "bruno"! i'm proud of this one. xoxoxoxooxoxox