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Wendy Giardina

Dear Sedulia, I appreciate your sharing your translation. I heard a bit more rawness and pain in the poem in French, and so had a few changes. If you care to respond, I would be interested in your thoughts. Wendy

Where I arrive I am a stranger
Nothing as precarious as living
nothing as fleeting as being
A little like melting frost
And lightness for the wind
Where I arrive I am a stranger
One day you cross the border
Where are you coming from but then where are you going
What does tomorrow matter and what yesterday
The heart changes like a thistle
Nothing rhymes or forgives
Pass your finger over your temple
touch the childhood of your eyes
Better to keep the lamps low
The longer night suits us better
It's broad daylight that turns things old
The trees are beautiful in the fall
but what happened to the child
I look at myself and I am stunned
by this unknown traveler
by his face and his bare feet
Bit by bit you silence yourself
but still not quickly enough
For your dissimilarity not to be felt
And the dust of time
to fall on your self of olden days
Growing old takes a long time really
the sand runs through our fingers
It's like cold waters rising
It's like a growing shame
Leather screaming out as it is tanned
A long time to go from man to thing
A long time to give up everything
and do you feel these great changes
that take place inside of us
slowly bending our knees
O bitter sea O deep sea
when is the hour of your tides
how many second-years will it take
for man to recant man
why why this posturing?
Nothing as precarious as living
nothing as fleeting as being
A little like melting frost
And lightness for the wind
Where I arrive I am a stranger


Interesting! Thank you Wendy. "Leather screaming out as it is tanned" doesn't seem like quite the right translation for "un cuir à crier qu'on courroie", but maybe mine isn't either. One of the things I love about translation is that no two translators will choose the same words.

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