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Max Ernst

January 18, 2011

by Marie-Claire Bancquart, from Avec la mort quartier d’orange entre les dents
translated by Wendeline A. Hardenberg

Du papier émeri, laissé brut et coupé de fentes.

Le peintre
a mis dedans
en cage
des oiseaux.

Il les a mis en cale
en décalage
sur la toile

les a engeôlés.

Les oiseaux réussissent à glisser quelques plumes multicolores à
travers les barreaux,
ils implorent, ils forcent.

C’est un carré de quatre centimètres sur quatre, dans la grande toile peinte en
couleur aurore.
Mais on ne voit que ce devant de cage, aux reflets coruscants.


A bit of emery paper, left rough and cracking.

The painter
has placed inside,
some birds.

He has put them in the hold
out of step
on the canvas

jailed them.

The birds manage to slip a few multicolored feathers
between the bars,
they beseech, they break out.

It’s a four centimeter square, within the large canvas painted in
rosy gold.
But you see only the front of this cage, and its coruscating sheen.

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Marie-Claire Bancquart (b. 1932) is a prolific and prize-winning French poet, novelist, essayist, and critic, as well as a Professor Emeritus of French literature at the Sorbonne (Université de Paris-IV). Her most recent book of poems, Explorer l’incertain, was published by Amourier in 2010.

Wendeline A. Hardenberg received a dual Masters degree in Comparative Literature and Library Science as well as a Certificate of Literary Translation from Indiana University Bloomington. She is currently pursuing a dual career as a librarian and a translator. Some of her translations of Marie-Claire Bancquart’s poetry have previously appeared in Ezra: An Online Journal of Literary Translation [PDF] and Ozone Park Journal, and are forthcoming in The Dirty Goat.

  1. anna
    January 20, 2011 at 5:35 am

    A beautiful poem and translation, thank you for bringing it to my attention here.

  1. May 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm
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