Thursday, 5 April 2018

I translated my French sonnet into English

Here's my original Sonnet 141, published back in August in the French Literary Review No.28:-

Sonnet 141
Après avoir ces cent quarante écrits,
je suis épuisé et me considère
une langue craquée léchante, dedans, un puits
empli d’une boue visqueuse, d’une croûte grossière.
Il en reste quinze encore, coincés, cachés:
des crapauds rotants que les murs moussus
font résonner. Enfin, bloquée, fâchée,
la langue, toute sèche et vulgaire devenue,
va bifurquer, et désormais siffler.
Chaque midi, pour un instant, le soleil
éclaire cette vie grimpante - viens regarder!
Voilà en bas, frétillante et vermeille,
la langue, les crapauds fugitifs, la chasse
avant que l’ombre couvre la disgrâce.

And here's the translation, in which I've preserved intact both the iambic pentametrical meter and the conventional Shakespearean rhyme scheme. The numbering refers to the verse's place in a collection currently in construction, provisionally titled 'Bristolian Cantos & Epigrams':-

Sonnet 141 en englais, traduction de l’auteur
These forty and one hundred thus inscript,
being sore fatigued, myself I do conceive
as cracked tongue licking in a dirty crypt
filled with a slimy mud up to the eaves.
Just fifteen of them left, captive, concealed:
those toads whose croaking on the mossy walls
reverberates. At last, rancid, congealed,
the tongue, gone dry from talking utter balls,
will bifurcate, and like a serpent hiss
Each midday for an instant, the sunshine
illuminates the orgy - come, watch this!
Down there below, writhing and intertwined,
the tongue, the hunted toads, the brutish chase,
before the shadow covers the disgrace.

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