Monday, June 3, 2013



Ce corps? Est-ce moi,
Ou suis-je lui?

Je regarde ma main
presque transparente
sous la lumière crue
de la lampe.
- Ces doigts inégaux et obtus!
Je regarde ma main;
Elle me demeure étrangère.

Ce visage dans ce miroir,
- Ce front trop haut
Ces yeux trop fixes,
À qui sont-ils?

Je marche, je mange et je bois,
Je fais l'amour et je dors
Je jouis de la vie
Et je jongle avec la mort.

À tout ceci mon corps
Demeure étranger.
Ne se teinte-t-il jamais
de ma pensée?

Est-il trop moi
Ou suis-je trop lui?
Ainsi que ces objets familiers
Qu'on ne remarque plus
Tant on les a vus,
Tant ils sont en nous.

Rosaire Dion-Lévesque

The Stranger

This body? Is it me,
or am I it?

I look at my hand,
under the lamp's
raw light.
--Such uneven, blunt digits!
I look at my hand:
a stranger to me.

This face in the mirror.
--Brow too high,
eyes too fixed,
whose are they?

I walk, eat, drink.
I make love and sleep.
I relish my life
and juggle with death.

In all this, my body
is still a stranger.
Does it never hold
the tint of my thought?

Is it too much me
or I too much it?
Like those familiar objects
we no longer notice,
we've seen them so much,
they are so deep in us.

(my translation)


  1. see how your fingers reach out to touch one decisive point? i don't know that that exists. (and yet we want it do, don't we? don't we crave the definition as though there is a right or wrong one?)

    your gaze goes straight through me. or is it going straight through you?

    "This body? Is it me,
    or am I it?"

    neither? both? or more?

    i don't have any answers. i have plenty more questions.


  2. i love this photo so much that i have not been able for a long time to say anything about the poem (except that your translation is flawless :-)

    it is interesting to compare how the western tendency has been, in philosophy but also art, no doubt under the immense influence of christianism as well, to dig a wide gap between body and mind (as wide as it gets, challenging the limits of that alienation feeling which is present in this poem as well), while in the eastern the tendency was opposite, to level that gap until it disappears... as i have been reading about Dogen recently, i must think of the word he coined, bodymind, to express this unity. i am pasting from an article which tries to interpret bodymind using the tools of western phenomenology:
    "The term "bodymind" denotes the oneness of body and mind.
    The absence of the hyphen indicates that body and mind are
    pre-reflectively experienced as one. Body and mind
    can be interpreted as distinct entities only by
    reflectively abstracting mental and physical aspects
    of a person's original pre-reflective experience".

  3. this is a question that i have almost everywhere in my head: i look,exactly like here,at my hand i dont't know what it is,sometimes it is so closed to me,but usuallly is something very strange-yes,in deed strange,like a new flower or tree about which i read in an almanac. and every step that i the same. is more easy when i just look at a mirror,which is cold,which is like a border.

    is so beautiful the translation,thank you for doing all those beautiful things:)