Category Archives: translations

Gautier translation in SPAM zine

I have a translation of “In the storm”, a short poem by Théophile Gautier, in the new issue 8 of SPAM zine.  Many thanks to Denise Bonetti, Maria Sledmere, Max Parnell and Maebh Harper.

Spam issue 8 - Cruise Liner

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Poem and translations in MOTE 1

There are four of my translations from Mallarmé (“…Mysticis umbraculis”, “Sonnet to Valère Gille”, “Macabre gallantry” and “The prodigal son”), a poem translated from Verlaine (“Hour of the shepherd”) and an untitled poem by me in MOTE 1, ed. Dominic Hale, Maria Sledmere and Ryan Edwards (Edinburgh, July 2018).  Many thanks to the editors.

MOTE 1

In the storm (from Théophile Gautier)

In the storm

from Théophile Gautier

The barque is small and the sea immense,
the wave throws us up to the sky in anger,
the sky, in madness, sends us back to the flood:
let us pray on our knees, next to the broken mast!

Between us and the tomb there is only a single plank:
perhaps this evening, in a bitter bed,
under a cold shroud, made of white foam,
we will go to sleep, our vigil kept by the lightning!

Flower of paradise, Our sainted Lady,
so good to sailors in peril of dying,
becalm the wind, make the waves go quiet,
and push with a finger our skiff towards the port.

We will give you, if you save us,
a beautiful dress made of silver paper,
a painted altar-candle weighing four pounds,
and, for your Jesus, a little Saint John.

Untitled (from Mallarmé)

from Mallarmé

Stroked by success
and in the narrowest of gloves,
Édouard Dujardin requests
that around nine o’clock, the third

of March, not even your shadow endorsed
by a coat of diverse spitballs!
you visit, eleven, Chausée
D’Antin, his poetry bookshop:

THE REVIEW which is bruited
INDEPENDENT, Sir, is holding
a housewarming golden as
the gas in its elegant premises.

(1888)

For a baptism (from Mallarmé)

For a baptism

from Mallarmé

If, subtle one, the little nose
dazzling, drowned in such
candour of guessed-at laughter
as this lace half-opens upon,

the filial instinct grabbed you,
prideful, but the second one
to resemble in her low-key
wit your blonde grandmother,

keep safe, from baptismal fonts,
that it might volatilise
miraculously into words
native and clear as a breeze,

mademoiselle Mirabel,
the grain of salt on your tongue.

The girdle (from Paul Valéry)

The girdle

                   from Paul Valéry

When the sky the colour of a cheek
at last allows eyes to cherish it
and when at the gilded point of dying
among roses time takes place,

before one mute with pleasure
enchained by such a painting,
there dances a Shade in a trailing girdle
the evening comes close to catching.

This girdle wandering
in aerial breath
makes the last link tremble
between my silence and this world…

Absent, present… I am truly alone,
and downcast, o sweet-talking shroud.