Wednesday, September 18, 2013

exiled, stubborn Desire

Le Positivisme

Il s’ouvre par-delà toute science humaine
Un vide dont la Foi fut prompte à s’emparer.
De cet abîme obscur elle a fait son domaine ;
En s’y précipitant elle a cru l’éclairer.
Eh bien ! nous t’expulsons de tes divins royaumes,
Dominatrice ardente, et l’instant est venu
Tu ne vas plus savoir où loger tes fantômes ;
Nous fermons l’Inconnu.

Mais ton triomphateur expiera ta défaite.
L’homme déjà se trouble, et, vainqueur éperdu,
Il se sent ruiné par sa propre conquête
En te dépossédant nous avons tout perdu.
Nous restons sans espoir, sans recours, sans asile,
Tandis qu’obstinément le Désir qu’on exile
Revient errer autour du gouffre défendu.

Louise Ackermann


Beyond the radius of all human knowledge
yawns a gulf that Faith claimed as her own.
She made that black abyss her domain
and believed she lighted it by throwing herself in.
But now! We expel you from your divine kingdoms,
ardent imperatrix, and in the new dawn
you will have nowhere to lodge your phantoms.
We slam closed the unknown.

But your vanquisher will suffer your defeat.
Man, this lost conqueror, already senses disquiet
and feels himself ruined by his own conquest.
In despoiling you, we find everything spoiled.
We rest without hope, without recourse, without asylum,
while exiled, stubborn Desire sneaks home
    and strays bewildered around the forbidden void.

(my translation)

1 comment:

  1. I love these elegant and sensitive translations, James. On this one in particular, I love the way you've sharpened the melancholy of the lost into something resembling a subject and predicate. I'd love to see this, still, in German, that language of undertakers, where grief at the death of god still seems fresh.