Some song on an airless night...
The moon tin-plates clear and bright
The cut-outs of gloomy greenery.
... Some song; like an echo dies,
Buried alive in that clump it lies...
- Finished: there in the shadows, see...
- A toad! - Why ever this fear
Of me, you old faithful thing?
Look: a shorn poet, not a wing,
The mud lark... - Horrible to hear! -
... It sings. - Horrible!! - Horrible, why?
Don't you see its eye's bright look?...
No: gone, cold, to its stone nook.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Goodnight - that toad is me. Goodbye.
This evening, 20th July
This is again, Tristan Corbière via Peter Dale. However much the translator indulges himself, Corbière indulges himself more. Those double exclamation marks, for example, are Corbière's.
I hope this poem gives some idea of how much fun Corbière can be - the croaking toad as "mud lark" and "shorn poet," for example, or the foliage as tin-plate cut-outs. Some of his virtues are those of many great poets.
I perhaps overemphasized his incomprehensibility yesterday. Or perhaps not. Corbière was an amazing oddball. But then the oddest thing is that he ends up in the main stream of French poetic tradition. It's Corbière and Rimbaud and Apollinaire who are important enough that someone bothers to tote them over into English so I can read them. Who were the normal French poets? What happened to them?
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tristan Corbière, poet-toad, toad-poet - It sings. - Horrible!!