Poetry by Eric Sarner

1. IDA –

to go,
going and at times

fazer la ida sin la venida,

to know you will not return,
or even ignore it

la ida esta en mi mano, la venida no sé kwando

I leave, you know, I know I’m leaving,
but when will I return?
somewhat advanced in years.
Yes, I will return old or not return.

2. KAZA –

I remember floor tiles
a turbaned woman washed with water.

En kada kaza ay un dolor de korazon,

everywhere, at once, yesterday or later
like a torment from the heart.

ajwera de kaza?

Are we happier away from home?
Often, the thing leads you
rather than vice versa:
to be carried away is not giving up,
nor refusing to act, no,
it may be celebrating the action
for itself,
going in the world
dancing the way,
because you belong there.


It was said that revenants
prowled the evening shadow
Wednesdays and Saturdays
they must neither be named
nor referred to
but why are they harmful?
Above all, never provoke them.
To the children, nothing was said of the dead,
of death.
(For fear of provoking it?)

A mi daño, to my detriment;

vino ensupeto me daño
his arrival without warning
scared me.

Un daño, a whim

I like this:
dizen ke Spinoza tenia un daño:
apenas via un arañero,
lo apañava i se lo komia!

Spinoza never resisted
a spider:
he would catch and munch it!

The chocolate spider.


Eric Sarner

Eric Sarner (b. Algiers) is the author of fifteen poetry collections and seven novels. He is also a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He trained in philosophy at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Cultures, Paris VIII, particularly with Henri Meschonnic, and in English, in both France and the UK.

He was awarded the Prix Arghesi Tudor (Romania) in 2013 and received the Prix Max Jacob (France) for Chronic Heart in 2014.

Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator, and actor whose most recent books include Life in Suspension and Dreaming My Animal Selves (both from Salmon Poetry), and the translations Ce que nous portons (Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne), Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb, and Beyond Elsewhere (Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, White Pine Press), winner of a Hemingway Grant. She contributes essays to The London Magazine and co-edits Plume Journal and Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy in Paris, and taught at Hamilton College and Loyola Marymount University. She can be found at http://helenecardona.com.

Cœur chronique. Copyright (c) Eric Sarner, 2013. English translation copyright (c) Hélène Cardona, 2016.