"[P]oetry makes nothing happen: it survives, / [...] a way of happening, a mouth." -W. H. Auden

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From Blackbird: Patrice de La Tour du Pin, translated by Jennifer Grotz

This is a real discovery for me. I have never before read the work of French poet Patrice de La Tour du Pin, but thanks to the translations published in the current issue of Blackbird, I will now seek out his work. Even in these few poems, the depth of this man's spiritual struggle and devotion is evident. I can't wait to read all of his work. Here are some sample lines from Jennifer Grotz's translations:

From "Psalm 6":

If my dream is laughable, Lord,
extinguish it, for it consumes me.


One must be able to hear the cry of others, to do nothing but

empty the self for the sake of a common call.

To hear in the voices of others your love cry and your lament:

so I go silent: you hold me.

From "Psalm 18":
I waste my efforts translating the ineffable:

my rendering of life will never achieve clarity.

Who would believe in my caverns, in my trees?

Who will take my stones as real?

From "Psalm 31":
The one who wanted to understand too much,

you struck him endlessly to be understood:

for a Lord, you come down hard when you decide to.

He wasn’t defying your intelligence,

he was only stretching his branches up to you:

you weigh so heavy for a God of light.

From "Psalm 33":
If it’s still to you that I cry out my anguish,

I’m sickened by the halting realization:

isn’t it you who tolls my heart like a funeral bell?


Why did you burden me with such a desire to praise

before you made me an angel,

why invest in someone who must be torn apart?

1 comment:

  1. Luke, Thank you for sharing work published in Blackbird! We love these poems. -- EAP