Ida Faubert

—Translated from the French by Danielle Legros Georges

O marvelous artist, O creator of dreams,
To my soul your solitary soul spoke,
And I followed you, a sweet and sad exile,
In the far-flung lands where you went restlessly.

I knew the spahi who lay heaving on the shore;
I felt him die in my deserted heart,
And took in his good-bye, his veiled gaze,
In the grave and calm hour of the rising moon.

O pilgrim of Angkor, I followed you.
I saw the great lotuses, the pagodas of gold,
The deep eyes of the saddened belles

Who weep in silence and sigh soundlessly,
Dreaming of a joy they will never achieve.
Loti, I resemble your Disillusioned Ones.

Note: spahi, members of the French cavalry units recruited from North Africa who took part in the First and Second World Wars. Note: Pierre Loti, a French navel officer and writer.

Jean-Claude Martineau (Author) / Danielle Legros Georges (Translator)

Jean-Claude is a poet, storyteller, songwriter, composer, activist, and former statesperson. He has published a large body of work under the pen name Koralen.

Danielle’s most recent book is Island Heart, translations of the poems of 20th-century Haitian-French poet Ida Faubert (Subpress Books, 2021). Her awards include fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. She is the former Poet Laureate of Boston; a professor of creative writing at Lesley University; and creative editor of sx salon, a digital forum for explorations of Caribbean literature.

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