wolfinthewood: Wolf's head in relief from romanesque tympanum at Kilpeck, Herefordshire (Default)
[personal profile] wolfinthewood


To André Rouveyre*

Fireworks in steel
How bewitching this illumination is
  A firework-maker's art
To mix with bravery a little grace

Two star-shells
A burst of rose
Like two breasts just unlaced
Stretch their tips out saucily
                           what an epitaph

A poet in the forest
Gazes with indifference
   His revolver set to safety
On the roses dying of hope

He dreams of the roses of Saadi**
And suddenly his head drops
Because a rose repeats to him
The soft curve of a hip

The air is full of horrible alcohol
Filtered from half-closed stars
The shells caress the soft
Perfume of night where you are resting
     Mortification of the roses

*Writer and artist; friend of Apollinaire

**Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi; Persian poet; fl. mid-thirteenth century. Author of The Rose Garden

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918)

translation © Gillian Spraggs 2014


A André Rouveyre

Feu d'artifice en acier
Qu'il est charmant cet éclairage
  Artifice d'artificier
Mêler quelque grâce au courage

Deux fusants
Rose éclatement
Comme deux seins que l'on dégrafe
Tendent leurs bouts insolemment
               quelle épitaphe

Un poète dans la forêt
Regarde avec indifférence
   Son revolver au cran d'arrêt
Des roses mourir d'espérance

Il songe aux roses de Saadi
Et soudain sa tête se penche
Car une rose lui redit
La molle courbe d'une hanche

L'air est plein d'un terrible alcool
Filtré des étoiles mi-closes
Les obus caressent le mol
Parfum nocturne où tu reposes
     Mortification des roses

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