François Jacqmin

book-mosley-jacqmin-snow

Griffin Poetry Prize 2011
International Shortlist

Book: The Book of the Snow

Translator: Philip Mosley

Poet: François Jacqmin

Publisher: Arc Publications

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Philip Mosley reads from his translation of The Book of the Snow by François Jacqmin

The Book of the Snow by François Jacqmin, translated by Philip Mosley

From The Book of the Snow

Hounded by the night, the snow pushed the door
and advanced to the heart of the abode.
It penetrated
like those gentle convictions you have
in dreams.
Then it sat down in the middle of the hearth.
Installed in the fold of the flames,
it contemplated
my thoughts. It was tired of its whiteness,
and awaited my compassionate shadow.


Traquée par la nuit, la neige poussa la porte,
et avança jusqu’au coeur du logis
Elle pénétrait
comme ces convictions douces que l’on a
en rêvant.
Puis, elle s’est assise au mileu de l’âtre.
Installée dans le giron des flames,
elle contemplait
mes songes. Elle était lasse de sa blancheur,
et attendait mon ombre compatissante.


The snow is everywhere, and its softness drives
the sacred orators to despair.
There is no longer a single spot for you
to place a metaphor.
Its art
is so pure that it begets not the pain
of a conviction.
The hearing is its word. It is in the endless belfry
of its whiteness
that my finest understatements ring out.


La neige est partout, et sa douceur désespère
les orateurs sacrés.
Il n’est plus un seul lieu où l’on puisse
placer une métaphore.
Son art
est si pur qu’il n’engendre pas la souffrance
d’une conviction.
L’ouïe est son verbe. C’est dans le clocher sans fin
de sa blancheur
que tintent mes plus beaux sous-entendus.

From The Book of the Snow, by François Jacqmin, translated by Philip Mosley
Original poems copyright © Editions de la Difference 1990
Translation copyright © Philip Mosley 2010
Introduction copyright © Clive Scott 2010

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