Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



The storm

(English translation of 'La Bufera' by Eugenio Montale)

Les princes n'ont point d'yeux pur voir ces grand's merveilles,
Leurs mains ne servent plus qu'à nous persécuter...
Agrippa D'Aubigné, À Dieu

The storm that drops onto hard
magnolia leaves, the long thunder
of March, the hailstorm,

(crystalline sounds surprise you
in your night-time lair, the gold
faded from mahogany,
from leather-bound books, even
a grain of sugar burns inside
the shell of your eyelids)

the lightning flash that crystallizes
trees and walls and surprises them
in that eternal instant -- marble manna
and destruction -- you carry it carved
inside you as your condemnation, binding you
to me closer than love, strange sister, --

and then the harsh crash, the rattling sistra, the tremble
of tambourines above the pit of thieves,
the fandango’s pitter-patter, and on top
a few flailing gestures…

  As when

you turned and, brushing
a cloud of hair from your brow,

waved to me -- and went into the dark.


Note: The quotation from the French poet Agrippa D'Aubigné at the beginning of the poem can be translated as follows:
Princes have no eyes to see these great wonders,
Their hands only serve to persecute us...


For more translations of poems by Eugenio Montale, go to Translations.

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