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A Poet's Journal: June 30th, 2014

June 30th, 2014

A 4-day hike in the Basque Mountains

Lying low upon the ground, breathing in the night air, and awakening to a slight chill, though it is the middle of summer, is enough for the body to regain its vitality.  It would be easy here for the mind to leave its thoughts to the scattered mist, but even if we tell ourselves that an unfettered freedom lies before us upon the trail, there is always something of our nagging and mundane lives following.  The contrast is too simple for us not to notice, and instead of feeling enlivened by it, there is the realization that we have not yet broken free from it all, but neither have we decided what we want to break free from.
A constellation arose on the door of our tent at night, and following it, the first rays of sun spread through our damp affairs with the enduring scent of heat--all of it though matters not unless one can see the place and the meaning it gives to his onward movements.
Douglas Thornton

NEWLY PUBLISHED TRANSLATIONS!!

Newly published at the Society of Classical Poets:  Translations of André Chénier’s Poetry, by Douglas Thornton

The Flute

Douglas Thornton

Ever tender and touching the moment,
When pressing himself the flute to my mouth,
Laughing and pulling me close to his breast,
He named me his rival and soon to be
Master.  My stiff and timid lips were shown
To breathe an air pure and harmonious,
And my young fingers, by his practiced hands,
Being raised and lowered a hundred times,
Though ever so trying, were taught to close
The different holes of the sonorous wood.

La Flûte

André Chénier

Toujours ce souvenir m'attendrit et me touche,
Quand lui-même, appliquant la flûte sur ma bouche,
Riant et m'asseyant sur lui, près de son coeur,
M'appelant son rival et déjà son vainqueur,
Il façonnait ma lèvre inhabile et peu sûre
A souffler une haleine harmonieuse et pure;
Et ses savantes mains prenaient mes jeunes doigts,
Les levaient, les baissaient, recommençaient vingt fois,
Leur enseignant ains…