T (no first name) Wignesan
The Evening Soup, Translation Of Paul Verlaine's La Soupe Du Soir
To J.-K. Huysmans
(Verlaine here paints a stark tableau of working-class or peasant life shorn of any symbolic or imaginary references. Even if I see no reason to keep to the strict rhyme scheme, I have nevertheless tried – wherever possible - to retain the quatrain form. Yves-Alain Favre, the editor of Verlaine’s complete works, says that the beginning resembles Victor Hugo’s « Pauvres Gens » (Poor People) . T. Wignesan)
The day dims in the narrow and cold room where the man
Just returned, in a shirt covered with snow, and for
The last three days has not uttered a word,
The woman takes fright and gesticulates warning the kids by signs.
One solitary bed, a dislocated sideboard, four chairs,
Curtains once white soiled by the blood of bugs,
A table which sags on one of its legs –
The whole wreaking with an air gone long stale
The man with the wide forehead, huge eyes fully sombre flame
Truly sparkled with intelligence and soulfulness,
What one calls a solid reliable bloke.
The woman, still young, looks beautiful afetr a fashion.
But Misery has laid its cursed hand on them,
And in a mad tumble, they were dispossessed of what was left
Of their hard-cherished honour and sense of humanity,
Tomorrow, it’ll be the turn of the female and the male.
They were seated at the table to partake of the soup
And beef, and this sordid bunch made up a group
Whose shadows loomed endless invading the space around
The room, the lamp burned ever bright without any shutters.
The children are small and look pale though in stature robust
In spite of the apparent leanness of their chests
Which speak of winters gone by without proper warmth
And having to put up with stifling summers.
Closeby an old rusted rifle hangs on a nail
And which the lamp lights up in a strange way.
Anyone who would look about long in the retreat
With that eye of the policeman would see
Piled up at the bottom of a rickety almeirah
A few dust-caked books of « science » and « history »,
And under the mattress, concealed with great care,
Heady novels dog-eared at every end.
And yet they do eat. The man, morose and fierce,
Brings up this nauseating fare to his mouth
Like one notwithstanding a subdued air humbles,
While his Eustachian tube seems destined for other uses.
The woman thinks of some former buddy
Who has everything: carriage and cottage in the country,
While the children, their fists dug into their closed eye-lids
Slurp snoring over their bowls – the sound of imitated sobs.
T (no first name) Wignesan's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Evening Soup, Translation Of Paul Verlaine's La Soupe Du Soir by T (no first name) Wignesan )
- Father Son and Holy Ghost, Audre Lorde
- For The Last Time, Orlando Belo
- End in desert, hasmukh amathalal
- The Tears That You Cried, Spiritwind Wood
- Brittany Brit, Eve Carter
- My Saviour, Leong Ming Loong
- The Rain Comes, Shalom Freedman
- Angels Sing Their Sweetest Song, Eve Carter
- The Amateur Writer, Leong Ming Loong
- Devotion, Shabeeh Haider
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)