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Nightmare, Translation Of Paul Verlaine's Cauchemar

(Translation of Paul Verlaine’s quintilla: « Cauchemar ». As usual, I have tried to stick to the original’s stanzaic format and rhyme scheme. T. Wignesan)

In my unfurling dream I saw it happen
- The way the hurricane lashes the strand –
A two-edged sword whirling in one hand
An hourglass in the other
This knight rider

Come coursing through Germany
Down through towns and the open country
And from the river up mountain free,
And from forests to valley lone
This stallion

Ebony black and red as flame
Sans bridle, nor bit, nor rein.
Ne’er a hup! nor crop, constrain
In the midst of deafening railing
Unfailing! Unfailing!

Long plume adorning a huge felt hat
Kept in shade his eye which up it lit
And then it dimmed. Such as in the mist
Explodes and dies this blue flash clear
The weapon fire

As when the white-tailed eagle’s wing
As might by a sudden storm sting
The air streaked with snowing,
His fur coat out-raised distend
Beat back the wind,

And disclosed with an air: glory be
A torso sombre and of ivory,
While in the black night free
Through strident neighing: dazzling beneath
Thirty-two teeth.

© T. Wignesan – Paris,2013

Submitted: Saturday, September 07, 2013
Edited: Monday, September 09, 2013


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  • Ramesh Rai (9/9/2013 9:51:00 AM)

    read the poem/ adeep thought with deep value of life entwined together

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