Treasure Island

T (no first name) Wignesan


The Rhine Salmon Complaint, Translation Of Etiemble's Complainte D'un Saumon Du Rhin by T. Wignesan


For Yvon Belaval
(A lilting musical poem of varying line length in quatrains with a refrain and much internal rhyming; end-rhyme scheme: alternate rhymes in succession: abab or in aabb and abba…)

The Salmon:

Banks of the Rhine
Joy of my loins
Bronze-sounding roaring
of limpid spindrift!

No, my bleaks,
I tarry not
until the feast
whence I make haste.

When the salmon of the Rhine
swims towards encountering its lovers,
for all the gold of the Rhine
no chance of its turning back.

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold
The Salmon:

Bloated dogs stuffed with soul,
what do you want of the plains?
I’m on my way to my lady
outwitting the (sirens’) breasts.

The poisons of filthy waters
haul you towards death;
with my lustrous paddles
I’ll arrive at a better station.

Every chance there on high,
beyond the echoes of thunder,
hop! with one jolly good jump
I’d have gained the glass palace…

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!


The Salmon:

Fishermen, you are mistaken
Who thinks of catching me:
I’m off to meet my lover:
Discard your quenelles.

Nothing will stop me,
neither the grass
of the deep calm,
nor the beaches of the isles,

nor the darkest shingles,
over which the sun enjoys
dressing for our eyes
temporary altars of fire.

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!

The Salmon:

At the heart which right night
am I going to – at last – know the truth?
Exhaust my desire for him
who palpates the eggs of my spawning?

This force within me so profound
being less of a salmon, I’d be drowned,
it carries me like a wave
and crushes me like a ray.


She breaks me and makes me whole
and lets me triumph over your sexual prowess
O! Sirens, queens so rosy.
I don a head band to take on other battles.

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!

The Salmon:

I have in vain a premonition of Kehl’s caresses!
The quid, one could say: furious and curious, upright
in its ink of flame and mud, ah! Which
dam of blue flashes, the black holes…where but where

am I? Oh! Prisoner of these queues of magicians
who seduce and disembowel you during their emotional
bursts!
But here’s my current and death is theirs
and I go past the bridge and life I’ll have won!

Gurgling air bubbles where the quid sleeps:
I have cut your gullet which had you tied to gold,
to the mud of galleons rotting on the Rhine bed,
to gold, when it’s love that I bear in my loins!


Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!

The Salmon:

Stronger than the force in me
vivacious, this failing
in me which cuts me off
from my back, would it be

cupping glasses of river lamprey?
an eel which crushes me
in this informed gesture
while I snap up an herring?

O fruity salmon,
O trout of blue flashes,
after this night…
tired, how I am pumped out!

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!

The Salmon:

And my night entangles itself in billions of gulf weed,
Thickened in black milk which hardens and brings rotten luck,
The aveniau of currents cling to my scales,
I’m carried away downstream, I weaken, I give in,

Help! I’m drowning. Surfeit of love, of soft roe,
For this back made lean through fasting and through faith.
Everything’s heavy, everything’s pulpy, everything’s deaf; but I
hear this time
true thunder – peace - the recompense.

Should my back break with the effort and when the hour
of truth stares me fixedly in my eyes,
leap, salmon, leap even higher! And with little concern
but for the act of spawning, and for the best, so be it, you die!

Lorelei:

Leap, salmon! Leap much higher!
Leap much higher, higher than the water,
than the waters of life, than the waters of death,
than the waters of death, than the waters of gold!

When the salmon of the Rhine
swims towards encountering its lovers,
for all the gold of the Rhine
no chance of its turning back.


Banks of the Rhine,
joys of its loins,
bronze-sounding roaring
and limpid spindrift!

It doesn’t tarry
before the feast.
Gaze upon its head,
and its bones.

© T. Wignesan – Paris,2014

Submitted: Saturday, April 19, 2014

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