Si … non (If…no)

open sea A while back I wrote Elemental , all about questions.

Recently, an answer came: Tired indifference. It came in French first, just like the initial poem so I stayed faithful to the muse, and let it be.

Then I translated it.

“Traduction” is the French word for “translation”. Deconstructed, the word’s meaning implies carrying across water, from one river bank to another. But, a river crossing always has some drift, it seldom moves in a straight line. Water flows, so do thoughts and language, so the carrier has to balance accordingly.

I have added audio in French in between the two versions in an effort to convey sense to this translation by adding tone, sounds and rhythm. I hope you enjoy it.



Si tu pars en fumée j’observerai la grâce
Du mouvement, du voile bleu
Qui s’envole, s’accroche et rêvasse
Un peu, puis disparait dans un souffle de vent.

Si tu te catapultes vers le soleil,
L’ombre d’un regret ne pourra t’arrêter
Il y a des amours impossibles…
L’amiante n’existe pas pour un cœur combustible.

Si la feuille qui flotte sur le ruisseau du temps
Est une nymphe endormie, l’âme d’une passion
Profondément enfouie,
Qui suis-je pour l’éveiller si tard dans la journée ?

Je suis un bois flotté entre deux eaux
Je vais, je viens entre les mains d’une mer agitée
Trop mouillé pour brûler et trop sec pour verdir
Je ne peux t’arrêter, seulement te suivre.

Si tu pars en fumée, en délire d’étincelles,
Je roulerai quand même dans mes ondes salées
Tu partiras alors au son des soupirs d’une épave
Et le regard embué d’un ciel délavé.

Tu ne demandes rien, mais tu t’attends à tout…

If… no…

If you go up in smoke, I will watch
The grace of the curl, of that blue veil
Fly, snag, and dreaming a little,
Disappear in a puff of wind.

If you hurtle towards the sun
Shades of regrets could not stop that course
There are impossible loves…
For a flammable heart, there is no asbestos.

If the leaf floating in the stream of time
Is a sleeping nymph, the soul
Of a passion deeply buried,
Who am I to awaken her so late in the journey?

I am the wood adrift in rough waters
I come I go tossed by the hands of a troubled sea.
Too wet to burn, yet too dry to green,
I cannot stop you, but I will follow.

If you go up in smoke, even in a delirium of sparks,
I will still roll in the whispers of briny waves
You will leave to the sounds of a shipwreck’s sighs
Under the wet gaze of a washed out sky.

You ask for nothing, but you expect too much…


About emmylgant

Cloud watcher and dreamer sometimes wise, often foolish, but I am what I am.
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19 Responses to Si … non (If…no)

  1. Suzanne Richmond says:

    Lovely. Interesting cadence in the English version…. Love the last line. So true.


  2. john zande says:

    Oooh, I like. And I love the explanation of translation, the river crossing, one bank to the other, but never straight. That is so perfect.

    I think you might be the only person in history, Em, to fit ‘asbestos’ into a poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. makagutu says:

    The last line is so true,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Magnifique, and wonderful.
    Pour UnElephant, il n’y a rien pour choisir entre les deux langues.
    He has no more superlatives.


  5. PapaBear says:

    Hmmm… Seems to me that if you don’t ask, your expectations will never be known, and even then, your chances of a positive outcome are only 50/50 …far better than 0. Loved the poem, Emm What’s the big deal about asbestos, anyway? In poetry, the word that communicates the thought is the right word. .., asbestos or not! !!! 😉 Hugs!


    • emmylgant says:

      Logic wins again!
      I am glad you love the poem Paul.
      Aww! The guys just kid around, I know. Asbestos is a bit like arithmetic, tough to place in a poetic/romantic context… definitely unexpected!
      I am pretty sure they are impressed that I found a way to use it here… It is ‘le mot juste’ for me and it works! so it’s all good. 😉
      I should have tagged the word!


  6. Randstein says:

    Asbestos sailed right on through my mind clean and clear. This was the stop and breathe part for me; “You will leave to the sounds of a shipwreck’s sighs, Under the wet gaze of a washed out sky.” And, the last line sums so many lives. I used to tell my soldiers that if they had no expectations, they would have no disappointments. It took them a while, but they all learned what that meant.

    Liked by 1 person

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