At times, without rhyme or reason, a poem will start in French in my mind and keep going until it hits a snag and my muse wants to continue in English… I keep telling her that this is just not done; it’s one or the other.
The funny thing is that, quite often, I can’t translate a poem straight from one language to the other, because poetry is both sound and meaning; it is the image a word or words convey, as well as rhythm and texture such as are found in alliterations for example. So, I often rewrite a portion to stay faithful to the intention of the writing… But even then, something gets lost in translation.
This poem on the sound of silence came out in French first, and as I have done before, I thought I would give my very dear and faithful English speaking readers the sounds in French (audio at the end of the French text) and their interpreted meaning in English.
I hope you enjoy both versions.
Ton silence me pèse tels ces fardeaux
Qui semblent supportables
Mais ne le sont plus au bout de peu de temps ;
Comme ces petites misères que l’on pardonne
Jusqu’à ce qu’elles nous brisent.
Ton silence fait le bruit
des portes qui claquent,
des rêves en chute libre,
et des pierres qui tombent
dans un gouffre sans échos.
J’entends le son des heures qui fuient
et des sourires figés
dans un ciel bleu.
J’entends les larmes essuyées
entre les lignes que tu n’écris pas.
Ton silence a le timbre
d’un cœur qui casse au ralenti,
puis s’éparpille sous la pluie
sans faire d’éclaboussures…
Dans ton silence, entends-tu
cette ombre égarée
Qui passe à pas feutrés ?
Your silence weighs on me like those loads
That seem bearable
But become too heavy in a very short time;
Like those little cuts and bruises we forgive
Until they bring us to our knees.
Your silence has the sound
Of doors that slam
Of dreams in free fall
And of stones hurling
Down a pit without echo.
I hear the noise of hours running away
And of smiles freezing in a blue sky;
I hear smudged tears
Between the lines you do not write.
Your silence has the timbre
Of a heart that shatters in slow motion
Then scatters in pouring rain
And doesn’t make a splash.
In your silence,
do you hear a shadow
As she errs on kitten paws?