Modern Poetry in Translation (Series 3 No.7) Love and War
Published by Modern Poetry in Translation
Cover by Lucy Wilkinson. Editorial by David and Helen Constantine.
• Adonis, nine poems, translated by Peter Clark and Sarah Maguire
• Jeff Nosbaum, ‘Pride of Ajax’
• Yannis Ritsos, twenty-eight of the Monochords, translated by Paul Merchant
• Guillaume Apollinaire, seven poems, translated by Stephen Romer
• Pushkin, The Captain’s Daughter, extracts translated by Robert Chandler
• Vénus Khoury-Ghata, six poems from Interments, translated by Marilyn Hacker
• Gilgamesh, an extract translated by Paul Batchelor
• Federico Garcia Lorca , ‘Song of the Civil Guard’, translated by Mark Leech
• Oliver Reynolds, ‘Kolin’ and ‘Dusty Miller Breaks his Silence’(after Liliencron’s ‘Wer weiss wo’ and ‘Vergiss die Mühle nicht’)
• Stephen Romer, four poems
• Du Fu, two poems, translated by Paul Harris
• Charles Dobzynski, ‘My Life as a Wall’, translated by Marilyn Hacker
• Lucretius, ‘Aulis’, translated by Stephanie Norgate
• Robert Desnos, ten poems, translated by Timothy Adès
• Anzhelina Polonskaya, four poems, translated by Andrew Wachtel
• Manuel Rivas, six poems, translated by Jonathan Dunne
• Giuseppe Belli, four sonnets, translated by Mike Stocks
• Elsa Morante, Farewell, an extract translated by Cristina Viti
• Andrea Zanzotto, four poems, translated by Jo Catling and others
• Elena Shvarts, nine poems, translated by Sasha Dugdale
Reviews and Comments
• Michael Hamburger on Assia Wevill
• Robin Fulton on Robin Robertson’s Tranströmer
• Sasha Dugdale on Emily Lygo’s Voltskaia
• Charlie Louth on Eavan Boland and the Bachmann-Henze correspondence
• Belinda Cooke on translations of Vittorio Sereni and Luciano Erba
• Josephine Balmer, Shorter Reviews
Guillaume Apollinaire, seven poems, translated by Stephen Romer
Xxxii (extracts) My Lou I shall sleep tonight…
My Lou I shall sleep tonight in the trenches
Freshly dug and waiting near our guns
Some twelve kilometers away are the holes
Where I shall go down in my coat of horizon-blue
Between the whizzbangs and the casseroles
To take my place among our soldier-troglodytes
The train stopped at Mourmelon le Petit
And I stepped down as happy as I climbed up
Soon we shall leave for the battery but for now
I’m among the soldiery and shells are whistling
In the grey north sky and no one thinks of dying…
And thus we shall live on the frontline
And I shall liken your arms to the necks of swans
And sing your breasts belonging to a goddess
And the lilac shall blossom… I shall sing your eyes
Where a choir of lissom cherubs is dancing
The lilac shall blossom in the serious spring!
Oliver Reynolds, ‘Kolin’ and ‘Dusty Miller Breaks his Silence’(after Liliencron’s ‘Wer weiss wo’ and ‘Vergiss die Mühle nicht’)
Soldiers drown in their blood.
Wheeling smoke, hoof-churned mud
and the sheen
of a thousand spurs catches the sun.
No one’s springing to attention
All the generals and squaddies
who necked bullets like toddies
now stand easy.
Death having meant no harm
by his jogging each arm
now stands easy.
An oblong bump in the shirt
of a corpse feeding on dirt
looks like a book.
An adjutant stooped as he grieved
undid the pocket and retrieved
the Gospel of Luke.
Returned with Prussian palaver
to the high-ranking father
fixed in his chair
it now bears a spidery inscription.
Kolin. My son lost in action.
Who knows where.
And you who now read that line
are one with its writer: both decline
to see what’s there.
For each of us will be posted in turn
lost in action, to freeze or burn
who knows where.
Du Fu, two poems, translated by Paul Harris
A Scene in Spring
The state is torn apart, only the mountains and rivers remain.
Weeds and trees run rampant in the city this spring.
Do the flowers sense the times, that they, like me, should weep?
Do the birds feel the emptiness, they seem so fearful?
For three months on end the garrison beacons have glimmered at night.
A letter from home would be worth a heap of gold to me,
An old man waiting, whose remaining white hairs
Robert Desnos, ten poems, translated by Timothy Adès
Song of the Glass of Wine
When the train goes don’t wave your hand,
Your handkerchief, your umbrella,
But fill a glass with wine,
And throw, towards the train whose grab-rails are singing,
The wine’s long flame,
The wine’s bloody flame that is like your tongue,
And shares with it
The palate and the couch
Of your lips and your mouth.
Manuel Rivas, six poems, translated by Jonathan Dunne
Ballad on the Western Beaches
The ship settles on the shore
and land birds nest on its mast.
With the compass I trace routes on maps of tillage,
hurt by the sky’s anger on the seed’s weak ribs,
fearful of the flower’s drift before inhumane winds.
The ship sleeps on the shore,
the keel’s blue imagination covered in brush and rushes,
and the figurehead has a strolling soul.
In the binnacle is kept the book of moons and the rains’ needle,
a bottle of old snow liqueur.
A skylark sings on a rusty harpoon,
a blackbird’s sigh lashes the cables
and crows on the rudder glimpse lesser death lying alongside.
All set, admiral, for the great journey.