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12 June 2009

Friday In Translation: L'amoureuse by Paul Eluard


I find this poem simply luscious but the first line is hard to translate. Literally, it is "She is standing (or, she stands) on my eyelids". These surrealists were completely obsessed with eyes! The impression this makes on me is something like, the lover is emblazened (or embedded?) on the poet's vision -- as when an image is burned into one'e eyes, like a photographic negative. The original ends with a rhymed couplet but I found I could include more rhyme without being too obvious or twee about it... Well, I hope so anyway. If you disagree let me know!

L'amoureuse -- The Lover
Paul Éluard

I can see her through my eyelids -- there she stands
And her hair is in my hair,
Her shape is the shape of my hands,
Her colour is the colour of my eyes,
She disappears into my shadow
Like a stone does, into the sky.

Her eyes are always open
and she does not let me sleep.
Her dreams, in the full light of day
Are brighter than the sun,
And make me laugh, and cry and laugh,
And talk without having anything to say.

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