Villon Pleas

Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in West Auckland, New Zealand. She is a recent graduate of the...


[part of a series of Rimbaud and Villon transmutations/translations]

C’est le repose clear, not fever, not languor,
sur le, on the, l’ami, friend, Lamia, send me
more to aim at, come. Le deux extremes of
the room and the cold dream inside it. Du
foyer noir, black sun, black hearth. L’aimée.
The wreathèd vale. The entombed. Are you here?

She lies on the black water, a fantôme white.
The red-gold hair, the red-gold hair, the fleur
of the fleuve, the fleurs there. Attend the sad
air’s murmurs, the vast front of all that is bare.
Je sais, the white snow lay fair round full, black
pond. O could a river end here.

Extract the bared, fallen leaves. The cold pressed,
is enough to, la jeunesse, to have it all in sight
and just see the clear snow gently falling
to white. Loss of the lost; the trees’ eaves crowd
to mourn. The water a black sea, surrounded by
loosed brush of dark. O to get there; to lose the begot.

L’enfants. Sad aster in non-season. They sing
in lamb’s white the hushed pulse. The threadbare
dress encircles in sweet caress. O pale belle,
what vision to dream as the night floats in.
Sur le lilies, half sunk, more delicate below
surface; look, the threat; there is where she is.

Ciel immense, Lami, you noir! You peril
of poor lunacy. The less pure moon in
the face of her, but O pale, pale Belle, you glide
in sweet repose. The blank water made folle
the soft, bare movements. Not embrace,
but embrace of her. The banks move out.

Still, still, the air shifts quiet. She has adrift,
found the centre, there still, you can see
from afar, d’éveilles, the long night filled
loose the last exhale of her. O look of it,
the last trees bow farewell. Des étoiles,
le nuit blanc, the white, blank, night on

black water.