Poetry by Andrée Chedid

Meadow season

The air is free

The paths infused with orange
The sun lies down in saffron robes

It is the season of laughter and tall grass

Oh my love of one hundred patiences
This evening everything is a first time.

The journey set free

There are no walls
I tell you this there are no walls
Where we are I sing & I remain
Where we are the present is ageless
If I wake up with the dawn
You are already in my life
Where we are the springs run free
The anchor is not on board
I tell you this.

Somnolence

Sleep oh my exile
Nameless is the distance
From my nights to the night

When delivered of form
I roam into indifference
Places of a strange life

And steadfast pilgrim
Free of body and blood
I taste your flower of forgetfulness

Sleep another harvest
First heart of death
Am I from here or somewhere else?

That instant

With my blood of a thousand birds
I marched throughout the earth
I laughed clay
I renounced time
I knew the talk of the strange

With my day-colored blood
I said yes to death and his innocence
I refused the night.

Seasons of passage

The earth has a name for the other side
Here is the day I must know at last
I abandon the roof tiles and attic life
Like a bird for its wedding voyage

Love has a name the other side of here
The breaking she gives to the dawn
………..she gives to the night
And that freedom is our risk and our measure

But here is the instant where I join things
A calling a wound where the rose was enough
And I am in your palm
Earth my beloved earth my wager and my origin.

Certain province

In our lives drifting away
With hearts injured
By smallness

We must love a reverie
The only certain province

Then the voyaging
Eternal & fragile
The breath unraveled

Gesture & flower will be our joy
of a dream set free.

The one who endures

His sight frequents the shadows
He holds the stone of being
The contradictory flower is in his hand
His heart reversed like a festooned ship
He has learned then unlearned the whole universe

He has known the footsteps of great illness
Horizon without sunrise
Towns of bitter harshness
Loose ground failing under ancient houses
And days inclined between their seven mirrors

He holds the stone of being
His wings have roots
Death carries his grace and Love his coronet
He knows those who dream possess all reason.

There is no afterword

Our hands are lifted
Like wings on a meadow
The grain is in my blood
Our sights are full
I cross the heartbreaking mirror

But I found nothing
That I’m still looking for. 

Bios

Andrée Chedid

Egyptian-born Francophone poet Andrée Chedid (1920-2011) settled in Paris after World War II, choosing French as the language in which she composed. Twice awarded the Prix Goncourt, Chedid published over twenty collections of poetry in addition to novels, plays, short stories, essays, and children’s books.

Marci Vogel

Marci Vogel is a Provost's Fellow in USC's PhD Program in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work was awarded a 2014 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and was a finalist for the Gabo Prize. Publication credits include FIELD, The Critical Flame, Plume, Jacket2, and Drunken Boat. Her first full-length collection, At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody, was released in September 2015 as winner of the 2015 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize.

Textes pour la terre aimée. Copyright (c) Flammarion, 1955. English translation copyright (c) Marci Vogel, 2016.