Monday, 4 February 2008

Kenneth White

Poem To My Coat

- a grotesquerie-

My coat's all worn after so many years
shreds of it are blowing in the wind



Rain, earth and salt
have worked themselves into the cloth

the perfumes of girls
the stench of cities

old coat,
with the familiar stink of life

let us go on another journey


Let us penetrate once again
the pelagian country

the body of our early love

happy to walk among the rocks
and to move among gulls

through an easy ecstacy

heading northwards
in the arctic light


And the wind comes to meet us
the cold wind of dawn

with a bible in one hand
and a lump of quartz in the other

and a gull on his shoulder

greeting us like a brother
who's been away in foreign parts

more difficult areas

welcoming us in gaelic
(the three phrases he remembers)

and refreshing us
with a little rain distilled

by his sister the west


Walking along the shore
remembering the past

grasping it in several ways
the beter to know it

and penetrate beyond appearaces
into the secret nerve:

pelagian orgies
pushed to the limit!


Old shamanskin, listen
while we're moving farther on

this poem is for you
I'll pin it on your lining

may we remain long together
through all kinds of weather

and enjoy the travelling


antonia said...

lovely. - thanks for the translating.

Sorlil said...

funny, I just read Sean O'brien's Cousin Coat poem the other day! Did you have to translate this from French?

swiss said...

no, kenneth white did all this himself. his french isn't complicated tho so it's easy enough if you have to