Thursday, 17 April 2014

Day 17: 'Rhinight' - an experimental version of Apollinaire

As promised, here is a more experimental translation of the Apollinaire poem I attempted a few days ago. I have not retained the original rhyme scheme or lineation, but have instead tried to capture something of the musicality and artistry of the original through assonance and a bit of wordplay here and there. In French, 'verre' (glass), 'vert' (green) and 'vers' (verse/line of poetry) are all pronounced the same, which creates a lot of possibilities for poetry-themed wordplay.


My glass is filled with wine that flamelike quiverse
            to the boatman songslow
      oh he saw says he saw seven women sous la lune
twine their envygreen hair
                        that cascaded

Up up sing up dancing rings around
me and drown
                       the boatman's song

       Bring me the blonde girls
       the unmoving stare
       the tightcoiled plaits

the Rhine the Rhine drunk
        where the vines admire their reflection
all the gold of the nights flitters down
                                   to be mirrored there too
           the voice still singing            till breath's exspiral
those green-haired faeries whose spells
                             draw the summer to song

I right my glass shattered like a shard of laughter

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