between dog and wolf

Standard

I have read this poem a million times in the original and translation without ever giving much thought to the expression “entre chien et loup”. It suddenly hit me this time; ever the wonder of translation. (Incidentally also led me to read Sasha Sokolov’s book of the same title.)

Waiting
Christiane Baroche
Waiting
savagery of love just lent

Waiting
divert it and at once no longer love
so much.

Tumble from loss to loss
moments occupied in being occupied elsewhere
Great chasms where love remains
at the edge
shivering
guard-rail of impatience

Wait ah
open up to minutes weighed down
to longings gone gluey
to blunted desire
like an old frayed sail thinning
with time…

I hurt in this man I’ve ceased
waiting for
he’s dying
in the murky light
backing slowly away
unfaithful memory abrasion of his features.

And you, you don’t yet know
that drab mounting-up of defeats
when no one waits for you any
more.

Original

Attente
Attente
sauvagerie de l’amour juste prêté

Attente
la divertir et déjà ne plus aimer
autant.

Tomber de perte en perte
de moments occupés ailleurs
Grands vides où l’amour reste
au bord
frileux
Garde-fou de l’impatience

Attendre ah
s’ouvrir aux minutes alourdies
aux envies qui s’empoissent
au désir émoussé
comme un vieux gréément s’ébarbe
au temps qui passe…

J’ai mal à cet homme qui j’ai cessé
d’attendre
il meurt
entre chien et loup
il recule à pas lents
mémoire infidèle abrasion de ses traits.

Et toi tu ne sais pas encore
la morne addition des défaites
quand on ne vous attend
plus.

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