Featured Poem

HOW ELSE TO SEE THE SKY


She stops when the water touches her waist
Looks out, sets off again, and the limitless sea
Trails her, a train she wears lightly, sensing the dress

Gone, her little-girl shoulder-blades
Whenever she lifts her elbows to draw herself up
Because it’s freezing
But the water is calm, it lets her be

Too hot to get cold, the others have stayed behind
This, then, is her moment – princess

She lowers her eyes, but not her head
On account of the crown that might fall off
Look at the way her feet go gliding
Across the sand
Because it’s so far down, legs must grow long
They twist away, kicking up glitter
The sun reaches there, where it’s deep
Deeper still, the tips of toes
Searching for the untouched ground

Water almost to her chest, she holds out arms
To make floating hands

Then she’s stretching out – how else to see the sky
Spinning round, the clouds the shape of somebody, nobody?


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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
ARIANE DREYFUS
Translator:
Olivia McCannon
Original language:
French
Issue:

Original poem

About the authors

Poet

ARIANE DREYFUS

ARIANE DREYFUS (b.1958) has published over fifteen collections of poetry, including La durée des plantes (Tarabuste, 1998), L’...

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Translator

Olivia McCannon

OLIVIA MCCANNON’S poetry collection Exactly My Own Length (Carcanet/OxfordPoets, 2011) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney C...

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RIEN N’EMPÊCHE D’AUTRES OISEAUX


Elle s’arrête quand l’eau lui arrive à la taille
Regarde, avance à nouveau, et la mer infinie
La suit, traîne qu’elle sent à peine, la robe elle l’imagine

S’effacent ses omoplates de petite fille
À chaque fois qu’elle lève les coudes et se hausse
Car il fait froid
Mais l’eau est calme, pas embêtante

Frileux les autres sont restés derrière
C’est donc un instant de princesse

Elle baisse les yeux, mais pas la tête
À cause de sa couronne qui pourrait tomber
Regarde comment ses pieds glissent
Sur le sable
Parce qu’il est très loin les jambes ont grandi
Elles se tordent à plein de reflets
Le soleil y va, en profondeur
Et plus en profondeur la pointe des pieds
Pour aller jusqu’au sol intouché

L’eau presqu’à la poitrine, elle étire ses bras
Ainsi flottent les mains

Puis s’allonger, sinon comment voir que le ciel
Donne un si grand vertige, et les nuages en forme de personne?


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