Thursday, April 4, 2013

Contrerime VIII

This one was missing from the sequence as I was never happy with the translation. I'm still not entirely satisfied, but I am posting it nevertheless.
There is a poem by Louis MacNeice called Sunday Morning that contains the lines: 
Down the road someone is practising scales/The notes like little fishes vanish with a wink of tail...

Dans le silencieux automne
   D' un jour mol et soyeux,
Je t' écoute en fermant les yeux,
   Voisine monotone.

Ces gammes de tes doigts hardis,
   C' était déjà des gammes
Quand n' étaient pas encor des dames
   Mes cousines, jadis ;

Et qu' aux toits noirs de la Rafette,
   Où grince un fer changeant,
Les abeilles d' or et d' argent
   Mettaient l' aurore en fête.


In the silent autumn
Of a soft and silky day,
Eyes closed, I hear you play
A monotonous run.

You rehearse with quick fingers
The scales that my cousins
Would perform by the dozen -
The memory lingers.

On the black roofs of La Rafette
where the weathervane squeals
the gold and silver bees
put the dawn en fête

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