T (no first name) Wignesan


The Drowned Man, Translation Of Etiemble's Poem: Noyé By T. Wignesan


The drowned (man) , Translation of Etiemble’s poem: Noyé by T Wignesan

(Etiemble who devotes some pages in this only verse volume to translations was a stickler to the practice of reproducing the original in its form, metre and prosodical structure, a methodology I find quite useful, on the one hand, and pedantically futile, on the other. “No man is perfect”, an axiom which could easily apply to both poems and their translations. In my view, it is not the translator’s duty to improve on the original creation nor is it to re-create another poem based on the original. Where the ambiguity of sense arises in vocabulary and syntagms, the translator has to make a choice, albeit even a personal one. End rhyme scheme of the original: aaaa, bbcc, dede, fgfg. Syllabic count irregular, roughly around eight, give or take one or two.)

The sea, its games, its lights of jade,
its crazy sheep, cheerless foam
obsolete languages, their countless watering places
standing open-mouthed, all their harbours

nets of steel where sometimes
an insignificant strip of my fingers
signed my passage through these harbours
underwater strewn with cadavers,

all these actions in which I lose myself
and find myself always strong(er)
all these abysses where you hope
to find in vain the last port

and which vomit you via an hiccough
towards shoals and their setbacks,
towards their beaches, their precipices:
non! it’s not for the sea to imbibe.

© T. Wignesan – Paris,2014

Submitted: Sunday, April 06, 2014
Edited: Monday, April 07, 2014

Topic(s): angst


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