Soft Link 1

Robert Majzels and Erín Moure translated from the French written by Nicole Brossard

copyright ©2007

It’s fears slow and fascinating that enter life each morning at coffee time while she wonders if tomorrow there’ll be war and brusquely as she does each morning slices bread and cheese. It’s gestures of uncontrollable avidity that proliferate in the throng and its worldly febrility, its parquet fever on the trading floor and stage. It’s hesitations, heart cries that crisscross broad avenues full of shade and dust that attract and make us think of our legs and elbows, our knees too when desire bumps and bounces words and feelings upward, it’s simple things with prefixes like cyber or bio that hold thoughts fast, float them a moment till we believe them aquatic and marvellous. It’s certainties that in tiny increments of dust and light are soon mixed with our tears. It’s inexplicable feelings made of small hurts strung over long years and vast horizons, it’s blues ideas that settle in where the happiness of existing threatens to take the breath away or to lodge itself in the throat like an instrument of fervour. It’s glimmers of intoxications impossible to look at for long, thoughts so precise that engage us beyond shade and wind, far beyond crude words, so noisy so terribly close to silence that the world all around seems suddenly engulfed in high seas and continual rustling like the music in our heads that in one stroke of the bow dislodges all that resists torment. It’s underlined passages, fragments of happiness that traverse the body and raise bridges all around because elsewhere and in the wild blue yonder they say there’s euphoria. It’s written down with bruises, abundance of life burst to fullness in a world and its niches of worn paths that lick at the shadow of bones.

Notes on the Poem

Our 500th Poem of the Week continues to celebrate translation, polyvocality and artist collaboration. Here is “Soft Link 1” from the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection, Notebook of Roses and Civilization (Coach House Books) by Robert Majzels and Erín Moure translated from the French Written by Nicole Brossard. Of the collection, the judges said: “Over her four decades of writing and depublishing poems and novels and essays-textes, Nicole Brossard has always shone an investigative light on every word that comes to her, and turned a demanding ear to each item of punctuation and notation. She sees the universe in the word for sand, and knows that it could be sable mouvant. So the translators of Nicole Brossard have to make poems we will love to read the way a carpenter loves a finished table.” Listen to Majzels, Moure, and Brossard read Soft Link 3 in this stunning polyphonic performance.

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