Sunday, August 15, 2010

A birthday translation in honor of Laforgue's 150th

Tomorrow — Monday, August 16th, 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jules Laforgue. But how to celebrate?

In honor of the occasion I decided to run a Google Translation of one of my favorite obscure Laforgue poems, "Berceuse d'automne" (it is very similar to a much later poem of his called "L'Hiver qui vient").

Because of his unusual poetic constructions there seem to be really wide variations in the English translations of Laforgue. Here is the English translation from Google which is actually pretty enjoyable (original French is below):

Autumn Lullaby
It's autumn, autumn, there is one near the fire. Farewell powerful sun, green leaves, blue sky! The rain beats the window and the wind A hoarse moan at length his monotonous song, O toilets in April, the joy of life, farewell. It is only near the fire, listen the rain And sometimes we'll see aside the curtain if the sky is still daubed with soot, if the street is always full of puddles And we sit back , you're bored, you get bored. O despair of the wind in the large wood Rolling yellowed leaves in whirlwinds of dirty, and love letters and nest debris, Carry the beautiful days in your long bursts, the winter is forever, everything is over Finish.

Berceuse d'automne
C'est l'automne, l'automne, on est seul pres du feu. Adieu soleil puissant, feuilles vertes, ciel bleu! L'averse bat la vitre et le vent s'epoumone A gemir longuement sa chanson monotone, O toilettes d'avril, bonheur de vivre, adieu. On est seul pres du feu, on ecoute la pluie, Et parfois l'on va voir ecartant le rideau Si le ciel est encor badigeonne de suie, Si la rue est toujours pleine de flaques d'eau Et l'on revient s'asseoir, on s'ennuie, on s'ennuie. O desespoir du vent dans le grand bois jauni Roulant par tourbillons des feuilles mortes sales, Et des lettres d'amour et des debris de nid, Emporte les beaux jours dans tes longues rafales, C'est l'hiver a jamais, tout est fini, fini.

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