Jean-Jacques Celly (1934-2006): XL From ‘The Sleepwalker with Eyes of Clay’

Translated by Timothy Adès

XL From ‘Le Somnambule aux Yeux d’Argile’

Tout dort, tout nous ressemble, dedans comme dehors,
jusqu’au givre têtu qui souligne et qui mord
murailles et faîtières en épargnant fumée:
l’haleine encore bleue d’une maison cernée.
Belle d’avoir raison, belle par évidence,
ornement du silence,
aucun tombeau ne dit quelle reine t’habite
et si la mort aimante avec toi cohabite.
Le temps privé d’atouts abat ses fausses cartes.
Notre siècle s’achève entre tes doigts de verre:
Brisure par senestre et la destre s’avère
porteuse de brandons aux rives qu’on essarte.
All is asleep, and all resembles us, inside and out,
to the harsh frost, sparing just the smoke as it etches
and underlines high walls and tiled roof-ridges:
just the breath is blue, of a house that’s hedged about.
So beautiful, being so right and so evident,
silence’s ornament:
no tombstone indicates what queen inhabits
you, or if death, your lady-love, cohabits.
Time’s trumps are drawn, it throws in its losing hand.
Our century ends in your fingers of glass, it’s over.
Rebatements dexter and sinister put the brand
to the trees they are grubbing out along the river.
Cross potent rebated: a fylfot, swastika. – Boutell on Heraldry.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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