Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Door

The Door

The hotel door smiles terribly
What is this to me o mama
The clerk for whom alone nothing exists
Pi-mus fish moving coupled through deep sad water
Fresh angels disembarked at Marseille yesterday morning
I hear a distant song dying and dying again
Humble as I am who am worth nothing

Labor child I've given you what I had

Based on Apollinaire “La Porte”
Translation © Jack Hayes 2016

Notes: The French word “anges” means “angels,” but it can also mean “angelfish", as pointed out by Anne Hyde Greet in her fine translation of Apollinaire's Alcools. The pi-mus fish is a mythical creature that swims coupled, only having one eye apiece.

Thanks as always to Sheila Graham-Smith for important insights on this.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Une rue à Montmartre - Juan Gris; 1911, drawing.
Public domain

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