Archive for July 14th, 2018

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Paris by Night by Tristan Corbière

It’s not a city, it’s a world

—  It’s the sea: — dead calm — The Spring tide has felt bound,
With a distant rumbling, to withdraw its sway.
Its waves will return, rolling themselves in their sound —
—  Can you hear the crabs of night scratching away…

—  It’s the dried-up Styx: Rag ’n bone Diogenes,
Lantern in hand, wanders down it; he never squirms
But it’s the black gutter where depraved poets please
To cast their lines, their hollow skulls the cans for worms.

—  It’s the wheat-field: Hideous harpies swirl and swoop
On what’s impure, gleaning shreds of lint caked in pus.
The alley cat, on the watch for rats, flees the troop
Of Shit-creek’s sons, harvesters of night’s detritus.

—  It’s death: Here lieth the police — And love, upstairs,
Taking a siesta, sucks a heavy arm’s meat
Where an old love-bite’s left its blotch — Love is for pairs —
The hour is solitary — Listen: … dreams drag their feet…

—  It’s life: Listen: the spring water is up for air,
Singing its everlasting song, that seems to slide
Over a sea-god’s slimy head, and his stretched bare
Green limbs on the bed of the Morgue… Eyes open wide!

From: https://universitypress.whiterose.ac.uk/site/alt-publishing/

Date: 1873 (original in French); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Tristan Corbière (1845-1875)

Translated by: Christopher Pilling (1936- )

Advertisements