Treasure Island

Paul Verlaine

(1844-1896 / France)

Autumn Song


With long sobs
the violin-throbs
of autumn wound
my heart with languorous
and montonous
sound.

Choking and pale
When I mind the tale
the hours keep,
my memory strays
down other days
and I weep;

and I let me go
where ill winds blow
now here, now there,
harried and sped,
even as a dead
leaf, anywhere.


FRENCH


Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon cœur
D'une langueur
Monotone.

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l'heure.
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens,
Et je pleure...

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m'emporte
De çà, de là,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte...

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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  • T Wignesan (8/24/2013 8:48:00 AM)

    Hi! Sandra! You're right about the translations: one, under the French title, should be discarded. It's unfaithful. The other with the original given there-below is alright but that, too, takes liberties with Verlaine. Reactions like yours don't say more than the appeal the poem makes to your own make-up, the way I see it, but it is an elegantly-shaped lyrical poem in a tripartite tonic and syllabic structure which lays claim to quiet sentimental recall and tender moments experienced by the persona's soul. The image of the dead leaf adheres well with the theme, and I do think it's very well executed. The plaintive tone of violins tugging at heart strings, on the other hand, is quite commonplace, don't you think? But the poem has its limits. One can't do very much - unless one has recourse to cryptic and allusive haiku or tanka - in mainly three to four syllables in each line, even if the symmetry (hardly perfect) is maintained in the stanzas. Every good wish. Wignesan (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Feldman (3/31/2013 12:27:00 AM)

    One of the most silmp[e, beautiful; and touching poems ever writen The translation does not do it justice. It is worth kowning French just to be able to read it, feel it and understand it. (Report) Reply

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