May 13, 2015KR OnlinePoetry

Sade, Love Finally Saved from the Mud of the Sky, This Legacy Will Suffice for Men Against Hunger

Translated from French by Nancy Naomi Carlson

—For Maurice Heine

The pure blood overjoyed at the rose garden
Torched mental temptress
So juicy the stroked tail of a horse
Sense of smell overworked near a swarm
      of delights
Hails discarded lust
The undressed rose reigns
As ice beneath black water, the fatal sleep

René Char(1907-1988) was hailed by Prime Minister Jacques Chirac as “the greatest French poet of the 20th century.” He was a man of action—a hero of the French Resistance and a militant anti-nuclear protester. Char’s poems are infused with mystery and music. Nancy Naomi Carlson is a winner of a literature translation fellowship from the NEA, as well as grants from the Maryland Arts Council and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She is the author of Stone Lyre: Poems of René Char (Tupelo Press, 2010).