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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

The Jeu De l’esprit & Other Poems— Hervé Yamguen

May 29, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY PATRICK WILLIAMSON

french poems

Image used for Representation

 

THE JEU DE l’ESPRIT

 

Those long precious moments of silence with oneself in the swirl of experiences open the door to worlds in the jeu de l’esprit
The human standing upright blurry ideas become clear and haloed
A fragrance shower pours forth day after day whenever the eyes contemplate dawn and dusk


FLOWER THE SPACES

 

There is so much silence in this world of many stories
We are so small confronted with stories of bloodshed faced with stories of stolen gold bars and plundered territories
But sometimes a single voice kindles the flame of hearts and blooms devastated landscapes


TURN YOUR BACK ON THE NIGHT

 

In this night of bodies screaming in despair, there are those who turned their backs on the night and who under their carapace repair what gives breathes life into singing and dancing


SEE

 

It is up to each of us to see in the horizon what makes us want to walk to live to make love to welcome beauty


IN THE HOUSE

 

Our hearts failed us top to bottom in the crannies of the house
From the breasts of our mothers to the erotic sliding between women’s lips where we have known many births
Our hearts failed us by portraying our faces
We recognised what sings in us
Today, in the midst of monotonous noises, we clean the stains of our fathers knowing that this is the price for us to stand before the twilight dancing scenting the house
At the windows’ edge there are bodies curled up that reek of days these bodies are fires of quarrels
From here, listening to voices in pain of a crowd of children on a misty horizon, we stand in the shade of the trees and dance with the burden of our fathers’ stains
We give our gestures wings of light
We merge with the twilight dancing to the rhythms of those who exorcise the house


Also, read Abandonment & Other Poems by K. Satchidanandan, translated from the Malayalam by K. Satchidanandan, and published in the Antonym:

Abandonment & Other Poems— K. Satchidanandan


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Hervé Yamguen

Hervé Yamguen

Hervé Yamguen was born in 1971 in Douala (Cameroon) where he lives and works. His field of expression is writing (e.g. Habille-toi de terre et de sel (poetry), Editions Les bruits de l’encre. 2020, and Public art in Africa, Editions MetisPresse, Italy, 2017) and the visual arts, as well as photography and performance art. His work has been shown in Cameroon and various countries around the world, notably France and Germany and Ivory Coast. He regularly creates stage designs for the theatre and designed and hosted the first urban stage designs in New-Bell, a partnership between Scur’k and Cercle Kapsiki, an artists’ collective he co-founded. Recently enthroned as a notable in his father’s village, he has returned to the codes of rituals and customs, while maintaining his position as a contemporary artist.

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson is an English poet and translator. Most recent poetry collections: Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore, 2018), Beneficato (SE, 2015), Gifted (Corrupt Press, 2014), Nel Santuario (SE, 2013; Menzione speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012) and translator notably of Max Alhau (France), Tahar Bekri (Tunisia), Gilles Cyr (Quebec), as well as Italian poets Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca. Recent translations in Transference, Metamorphoses, The Tupelo Quarterly, and poems in The Black Bough, The Fortnightly Review notably. Longstanding collaborator with artists’ book publisher Transignum, member of the editorial committee of La Traductière, and founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.

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