Exercice / Drill
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)
Vers un village de l’arrière S’en allaient quatre bombardiers Ils étaient couverts de poussière Depuis la tête jusqu’aux pieds Ils regardaient la vaste plaine En parlant entre eux du passé Et ne se retournaient qu’à peine Quand un obus avait toussé Tous quatre de la classe seize Parlaient d’antan non d’avenir Ainsi se prolongeait l’ascèse Qui les exerçait à mourir from Calligrammes
Exercice / DrillFour men were making their way to the rear Each of the four was a bombardier Back to a village, they’d been stood down Covered in dust from toe to crown. They looked at the plain and it was vast And they were talking about the past. They talked about the past so well They hardly turned round at the crump of a shell. Not for them was the future, this class of ’16. Their talk of the past and how it had been Was the working out of a discipline That ground them down till it grubbed them in.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès