And the Earth Flows Translation By Gabriella Bedetti and Don Boes

And the Earth Flows | Translation By Gabriella Bedetti and Don Boes

and the earth flows
it is blood
the words
are completely mixed
in it
we mistake them
for the living earth
the laughing earth
which is always there in us
each hand
I look at us
each passerby
as I walk
since the time
that passes us
for us
and the cries are silent
since a cry
smothers a cry
and the words 
are blood coming out of mouths
and when we want
to speak the day
it is the night
that speaks to us
and when we believe we drink eat
it is earth
that we spit out
the one that flows
with all this blood

– – – – – – – –

et la terre coule
c’est du sang
tant les paroles
sont mêlées
en elle
qu’on les passe
pour la vivante
la riante
qui est là toujours en nous
chaque main
je nous regarde
chaque passant
que je marche
puisque le temps
qui nous passe
le sommeil
pour nous
et les cris font du silence
puisque un cri
étouffe un cri
et les paroles
sont du sang qui sort des bouches
et quand on veut
parler jour
c’est de la nuit
qui nous parle
et quand on croit qu’on boit mange
c’est de la terre
qu’on recrache
celle qui coule
tout ce sang

from Et la terre coule (And the Earth Flows), Arfuyen, 2006
by Henri Meschonnic

About the Authors:

Gabriella Bedetti studied translation at the University of Iowa and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her translations of Meschonnic’s essays and other writings have appeared in New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, and Diacritics. Meschonnic was a guest of the MLA at her roundtable with Ralph Cohen and Susan Stewart.

Don Boes is the author of Good Luck With That, Railroad Crossing, and The Eighth Continent, selected by A. R. Ammons for the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, CutBank, Zone 3, Southern Indiana Review, and The Cincinnati Review.

Henri Meschonnic (1932–2009) is a key figure of French “new poetics,” best known worldwide for his translations from the Old Testament and the 710-page Critique du rythme. During his long career, Meschonnic generated controversy in the literary community. His poems appear in more than a dozen languages; however, almost none of Meschonnic’s poems have been translated into English. His poetry has received prestigious awards, including the Max Jacob International Poetry Prize, the Mallarmé Prize, the Jean Arp Francophone Literature Prize, and the Guillevic-Ville de Saint-Malo Grand Prize for Poetry.