Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918): Fête / Carnival

Translated by Timothy Adès

Feu d’artifice en acier
Qu’il est charmant cet éclairage
Artifice d’artificier
Mêler quelque grace au courage

Deux fusants rose éclatement
Comme deux seins que l’on dégrafe
Tendent leurs bouts insolemment
IL SUT AIMER quelle épitaphe

Un poète dans la forêt
Regarde avec indifférence
Son revolver au cran d’arrêt
Des roses mourir d’espérance

Il songe aux roses de Saadi
Et soudain sa tête se penche
Car une rose lui redit
La molle courbe d’une hanche

L’air est plein, d’un terrible alcool
Filtré des étoiles mi–closes
Les obus caressent le mol
Parfum nocturne où tu reposes
Mortification des roses

Fireworks filigreed in steel
Very pretty lighting this
Artificer’s artifice
Courage gets a touch of style

Starburst rockets rosy pair
Like a bared and spilling bust
Pout their points up shameless there
‘QUITE SOME LOVER’ now he’s dust

Poet in the forest looked
Two things he’s indifferent
His revolver isn’t cocked
Roses died too confident

Saadi’s roses in his mind
See his head go down inclined
When a rose reminds him of
Someone’s soft posterior curve

One–eyed stars the air is filled
By foul gases they’ve distilled
Alcohols that rot the sky.
Soft night’s perfume is caressed
By explosions where you rest
That’s how roses mortify

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès
Published in The London Magazine, December/January 2014/15

Content: copyright © Timothy Adès 2010–2020; all rights reserved

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