A translation of Emile Nelligan’s Rêve d’une nuit d’hôpital (for Shane Neilson)
Wearing the white of her paintings, sublime
Cecile is seen by the Saint, her head haloed –
and Jesus, Mary and Joseph are seated,
I listening from the bannisters, in time
for the sudden mystic blaze of chandeliers
breaking and roaring with the rain-raying
harmonies harp-accented by her blurs
of fingers. Earthly music, stop your playing!
I do not want to sin. I do not want to come.
The Saint says for an encore they demand
I be the Savior of this Kingdom
and I will wait for the next recital to grace
me, soon, from her planetary land,
when angels come to free me from this place.