Jim Barnes

Poets as Translators - Jim Barnes



(1) At the Festival de Poesie
(2) Meeting Susan S. at Musee de l'Orangerie

Translation from the French and German:


(1) "The song is choked..."
(2) "Captives among the stalks..."
(3) Flushing the Game



Jim Barnes

At the Festival de Poesie

In a dressing room the size of a closet
in Vicki's theatre, we crowd around
the table to translate what cannot be
done. The poems lie about us, scattered
into our lives like sibylline leaves
the Paris wind has thrown. We speak in tongues
not even we are sure of.

                                         The day lives
elsewhere. A smoky night fogs our vision:
the rain is fierce in the courtyard beyond
our fanning door. Too many words limp past
our chairs and out into the liquid light.
The poems all deal with broken lives we
try to puzzle out the pieces of.

and the chance word we wish for, a mythy
phrase that will hit our heads like sewer steam
in alleys we dread to walk. Too many
hours we almost it: our minds are growing 
dark with poetry.

                               If there was but a way
to level out our tumbling tongues, if there
was but a way to say it forever right,
then we would have out paradise in words
and no business whatever in the world.


Jim Barnes

Meeting Susan S. at Musee de l'Orangerie

The same sad hat, the same white gloves,
she wore those days in Bellagio.
The same sad eyes, disdaining loves
she may have left in Menaggio.
An accident we saw her at all:
she was slow to confirm our call.

Oh, there you are, she said, as if
we hadn't been. Looking over
our shoulders, to the right and left,
she critiqued Monet's clover
and trunks of trees whose tops she could
not see. But the light on the lilies was good.

Light was indeed good everywhere,
especially for Monet and now
for us, washing Paris in an air
framed by clouds and endless rainbows.
We had had a premonition
earlier we would see someone.

She paused, her eyes drifiting about
the walls as if she expected some
reveling satyr to step out
of the maze of color and claim
her, his prize. We gently eased away.
She floated out into the day.


Claire-Sara Roux

The song is choked
The word
No longer waters the desert

Where is the nightingale
In the crevices of Sinai
By the bones of the bleached

The willows
No longer skirt the quick streams

Small birds with no mystery
Cut up the sky into
Crazy arabesques
Of every destiny

Even poetry 
Is mortal

(Translated from the French by Jim Barnes)


Claire-Sara Roux

Captives among the stalks
The ingenious cows
Display the parchment of liberty
Seas archipelagos continents islands

Living maps of the world they offer
The secret geography of their flesh
On their branded flanks
The key to the fields
The milk of dreams

(Translated from the French by Jim Barnes)


Dagmar Nick

Flushing the Game

Late summer, this sense
of parting ahead.
The door to the shaded home
already slams behind you.

Wind that spans the distance:
your roads of tomorrow. 
What you have lost
you must borrow once more.

Until the storm breaks,
you still may camp outdoors.
The shots during the night
need not be meant for you.

You stumble onto fox traps
hidden in the field.
But not until the jay warns you
do you know the chase is on.

(Translated from the German by Jim Barnes)





While we are striving to create online ordering capabilities, for now it's down to the good old mail ordering. You can pick up your copy of the Artful Dodge by sending cash or check orders to:

Artful Dodge
Daniel Bourne, Editor
Department of English
The College of Wooster
Wooster, OH 44691

Remember, our newest issue is $12.00 while back issues are $5.00.