Salah Stétié / La terre avec l'oubli

The Earth with Oblivion

Here it is, fiery rose in the burn,
That which gives its own fruit to fire
When the water appears right there, daughter of the house,
And when she's sleepless with fire in the burning
Above the roof and the long palm tree of the clouds
Lit up by blood
Beyond oblivion's course

In the pleats and folds of the course
There's the earth, the earth with a lost
And terribly blue horse
And those hills, further and full of angels
Who sweetly follow their blind hands
In created sterility, her fingernails
Marked by the moon's edge

Anyways the landscape talks
—and it is the coffins
Mixed into the great disaster of the clouds
In that which no longer has a name, but is only
A mouth made of herbs
Speaking what little she says: that which is
Fresh clay and innocent flame
Protecting the grain that trembles against the birds

Translator's note: These poems are taken from the opening sequence of the book La tierra con el olvido (Caracas: Angria Ediciones, 2002), a Spanish version translated by Alfredo Silva Estrada from the original French of the Lebanese poet Salah Stétié (Beirut, 1929). Stétié first published La terre avec l'oubli in Paris in 1994. I've based my own English translations on both the Spanish version and the original.

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