Texts

———————————————— Translation by Jan Owen.

 

THE SHEPHERDESSES PAINTED IN BLUE

 

Darkness and thought invade the sky
And the cloud fields steal the gold of statues

The wind turns tempest and will not calm
And it all quickens and it’s all cinema

A sand-covered bank a sweet fatigue
And to sleep an instant on closing your eyes

Here there is no nostalgia
Half-blind windows look onto blank walls

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

Too long a trip in an automobile
The radio broken my heart the replacement

There where sea charts indicate mountains
Carefree ships play at mountaineering

Needs must leave again space is so wide
To travel on further and time is so long

Then to bend the poets from their comet course
And search out silence like a winter cloak

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

This water is everywhere over frail earth
Ravaging healing and never ending

But life teaches nothing and man is a dunce
A window spirit a heater body

Three pennyworth of hope fifteen euros of hell
A moon ultra full on a bottle dead empty

This morning I bartered my soul of a giant
For the heart of a beggar an uncertain love

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

Luminaries scintillate shifting invisible
As hooked on us as we on them

Then heroes march past in a glorious procession
But the sound of the trumpets is drowned in the void

And the swimming of sperm whales harmonious lovely
Hides mysteries from us which seem far too mundane

A fairy could certainly know of these questions
But fairies are earthly and have no replies

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

Rumbling assailing the great waves return
Searching out houses commanding the seasons

And the chessboard is set out at check and stalemate
But the two adversaries have not shaken hands

Soon I shall loiter behind on a bench
To wait for a meeting in the eerie light

A musing old man already resigned
A few grams of the past and a faraway glance

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

The palm trees are simply stuck onto the sunset
The photo’s made child’s play of imagination

We have cleaned out the breeches of our rifles
Kissed our wives goodbye and then left

Sailed over the ocean listened to sirens
And we have confused them with manatees

The mist is still lingering on today
Iridescing the light of strange aureolas

Shepherdesses painted in blue will find their lovers
In the midst of the flock, at the foot of the swing

To love silence with all its charming vanity
Like a countryside crossed without choosing to stop

But to build ourselves strongholds of books and stones
What damnable recklessness!

The rain falls straight down onto straight blocks of flats
Man too is quite upright so much verticality

Chests swelling out are hazardous signs
Sigh-sacs of happiness and of ennui

 

Original french in Les Mécaniques, ed. À Plus d’un Titre, 2008
Published in australian poetry review
Cordite, 8/2016

 

————————————————— Translations by Nathalie Merlier.

 

I have been an orphan for so long

And I still stand alone

Alone against these raining words, I

Upright in the dreary light

Of a twilight bereft of magic

 

Sad, so sad I could die

 

Yet my untiring eyes search and scan relentlessly

              — I still hunger for the world —

Caressing the continent all over, physically

My eyes know better than the words I hear

The future we should reach for

 

But arising from our joint hearts I can only see

Biological, same as ever, men’s anxiety

As the night comes closer —

The temptation to give in to the cave or to the comforter

 

And I know that campfires burning here and there, scattered and small,

Will neither light up the darkness, nor speed up the next dawn

They will be, these fires, mere red dots, map pins,

Geopolitical, in no way cheering

 

I feel as We and as We I’ll go

Striding straight through the night

 

written and read for the renshi.eu project of the Poesifestival Berlin 2012

 

———————————————

 

THE SEA OF FERTILITY

 

The spring snow has melted

In puddles, corollaceous basins.

In them we paddle, our feet dirty with cold dirt.

Far away, mountains.

 

The noise is confused and the silence is blurred.

The sky is too clear in our eye.

The air is dry and attacks rocks and bodies.

No smell in that cold.

 

The tracks are hidden, blocked,

Concealed invisible amidst vines

And glens like ripples in a row.

They’ll have to lead us one step beyond the horizon.

 

The runaway horses are here to remind us

There is a pen;

Quivering like the shapes of the clouds,

Fleeing like the wind below the shades.

 

It is adorned with beauty, and sometimes liberty,

World over the world,

Euphoria over euphoria,

Attacking the brain with its rational weapons.

 

There are mechanics, like tightened threads,

That support the sea and make it rise;

Ropes lift up the sun with every new dawn

And the mountains are pushed by powerful jacks.

 

The temple of dawn lights up with bright fires

Upon the silky whiteness of the sad scenery.

It awakes and expands fringed by its golden fires,

Radiantly victorious of the ended night.

 

Marvellous temple with its wild architecture,

Frivolous in its promise as in its geography;

With each finishing instant it is dissolved

All the better to appear some other place.

 

You can see it from the sea, on a distant island,

In the heart of a chasm or the depths of an eye;

Artificial lung resembling the skies,

It has all the smoothness of a magnificent morphine.

 

How strange the feeling arising from that hand held back

At the point of stroking the cheek of the beloved other.

How strange the loam growing under our feet,

Its creepers clutching us, feeding us life.

 

Beauty, I read it, vanishes before consciousness:

Infinite foams stretch under infinite suns

And yet it is but the dying sea;

The rising heat will not revive it.

 

The flowers in the garlands wither,

The dresses that were to be kept clean get stained,

Nothing will remain, once our eyes are closed

But the acrid smell from the decay of the angel.

 

Original french in Les Mécaniques, ed. À Plus d’un Titre, 2008
 

———————————————

 

ANDREEVA
NIGHT STORAGE
SILENT TRANSFORMATIONS

 

Hard to make out how much alive or dead it is. To know whether it’s asleep or dying. It’s still. Motionless. Devoid of any reaction to the snow covering it, attacking it, assaulting it. Here it’s been winter for six months. And it will go on. And on.

Sometimes the sky, alone, comes to life and changes over the dark depth of the polar heights. And the Northern lights rise, iridescent like a sailboat spread out far above it. But no one here to enjoy them; not even it which remains all curled up. Perhaps weeping over its state of abandonment. Or not giving a damn. Allowing to be covered. Slowly penetrated down to the raging core of its hastily stored casks. Letting the melted water from the skies trickle over it to gorge itself on particles and specks of iron. It is the nuclear, the dark, the abandoned. The storage area letting its huge buildings get adorned with filth and striped with rust like a creeping cancer. Letting its steel and containment concrete skin get tattooed by sickly blossoms which final blooming will be its death. Down to the ground, runny with a brown liquid, down here like God’s gob of spit on earth, it has nothing more to hope for but its own end. Most likely dislocation.

 

Original french and english version in Saint Octobre’s Nouveau Noum, Russian nuclear activity in the Arctic: a poetic retrospective, ed. La Passe du Vent, 2016

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