15 December 2005

Jean Follain, two translations


Dans l’assiete blanche
un peu ébréchée
on mange un morceau de viande saignante
la femme assoiffante
on ne la voit plus.
Sur la route bleue
puis qui devient rouge
de grand chiens passent
comme s’ils avaient
moyen d’exister
durant tous les temps
en portant collier à plaque de cuivre
au nom de leur maître
et sans peur de la nuit.

Meal (translated by W. S. Merwin)

From the white plate
somewhat chipped
a piece of bleeding meat is eaten
the wife who made throats run dry
is no more to be seen.
On the blue road
that turns red a bit later
big dogs pass
as though they had
some way of existing
in all seasons
wearing their master’s name
on their brass collars
and with no fear of night.

Meal (translated by Heather McHugh)

From the slightly chipped
white plate
you eat a piece of rare meat
you no longer see
the woman you thirst for.
On the blue road
which then becomes red
large dogs go by
as if they had
a way of surviving
to the end of time
by wearing collars with brass tags
in the name of their master
and not being afraid of the dark.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a difference. I prefer the second translation so much that I'm horrified to see who did the first one (because I love him). What do you think he would say if he read the second translation? Would he say, "Hm, yes, that's much better?' Or do you suppose he would prefer his?