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The Rhine Salmon Complaint Translation of Etiemble s Complainte d un saumon du Rhin by T Wignesan

The Rhine Salmon Complaint, Translation of Etiemble’s Complainte d’un salmon du Rhin For Yvon Belaval (A lilting musical poem of varying line length in quatrains with a refrain and much internal rhyming; end-rhyme scheme: alternate rhymes in succession: abab or in aabb and abba…) The Salmon: Banks of the Rhine Joy of my loins Bronze-sounding roaring of limpid spindrift ! No, my bleaks, I tarry not until the feast whence I make haste. When the salmon of the Rhine swims towards encountering its lovers, for all the gold of the Rhine no chance of its turning back. Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold The Salmon: Bloated dogs stuffed with soul, what do you want of the plains? I’m on my way to my lady outwitting the (sirens’) breasts. The poisons of filthy waters haul you towards death; with my lustrous paddles I’ll arrive at a better station. Every chance there on high, beyond the echoes of thunder, hop! with one jolly good jump I’d have gained the glass palace… Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! The Salmon: Fishermen, you are mistaken Who thinks of catching me: I’m off to meet my lover: Discard your quenelles. Nothing will stop me, neither the grass of the deep calm, nor the beaches of the isles, nor the darkest shingles, over which the sun enjoys dressing for our eyes temporary altars of fire. Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! The Salmon: At the heart which right night am I going to – at last – know the truth? Exhaust my desire for him who palpates the eggs of my spawning? This force within me so profound being less of a salmon, I’d be drowned, it carries me like a wave and crushes me like a ray. She breaks me and makes me whole and lets me triumph over your sexual prowess O ! Sirens, queens so rosy. I don a head band to take on other battles. Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! The Salmon: I have in vain a premonition of Kehl’s caresses ! The quid, one could say: furious and curious, upright in its ink of flame and mud, ah! Which dam of blue flashes, the black holes…where but where am I? Oh! Prisoner of these queues of magicians who seduce and disembowel you during their emotional bursts! But here’s my current and death is theirs and I go past the bridge and life I’ll have won ! Gurgling air bubbles where the quid sleeps: I have cut your gullet which had you tied to gold, to the mud of galleons rotting on the Rhine bed, to gold, when it’s love that I bear in my loins ! Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! The Salmon: Stronger than the force in me vivacious, this failing in me which cuts me off from my back, would it be cupping glasses of river lamprey ? an eel which crushes me in this informed gesture while I snap up an herring ? O fruity salmon, O trout of blue flashes, after this night… tired, how I am pumped out ! Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! The Salmon: And my night entangles itself in billions of gulf weed, Thickened in black milk which hardens and brings rotten luck, The aveniau of currents cling to my scales, I’m carried away downstream, I weaken, I give in, Help ! I’m drowning. Surfeit of love, of soft roe, For this back made lean through fasting and through faith. Everything’s heavy, everything’s pulpy, everything’s deaf; but I hear this time true thunder – peace - the recompense. Should my back break with the effort and when the hour of truth stares me fixedly in my eyes, leap, salmon, leap even higher ! And with little concern but for the act of spawning, and for the best, so be it, you die ! Lorelei: Leap, salmon ! Leap much higher ! Leap much higher, higher than the water, than the waters of life, than the waters of death, than the waters of death, than the waters of gold ! When the salmon of the Rhine swims towards encountering its lovers, for all the gold of the Rhine no chance of its turning back. Banks of the Rhine, joys of its loins, bronze-sounding roaring and limpid spindrift ! It doesn’t tarry before the feast. Gaze upon its head, and its bones. © T. Wignesan – Paris, 2014

Copyright © | Year Posted 2014




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