French Poetry by Two Canadian Poets

Vatsala Radhakeesoon
by Vatsala Radhakeesoon

French is often referred to as la belle langue Française – the beautiful French language. 

It is spoken, read and studied in the land where it originated, that is, France as well as various other countries of the continents of Europe, America and Africa. French is also appreciated in many non-French speaking countries. This is due to the fact that the very act of listening to it gives a feeling that it is poetic and it is a language in which intense emotions and deep thoughts can be expressed with unique perfect precision.

I have the immense pleasure of bringing forth some works of two contemporary French Canadian poets, Huguette Bertrand and  Odette Beaudry respectively. The original poems in French appear first, followed by 
my English translation of each poem.

HUGUETTE BERTRAND

D'UNE SAISON À L'AUTRE

La beauté de l'arbre
m'engendre
à chaque instant
me raconte ses silences
ses effeuillements
d'une saison à l'autre
m'aspire vers le haut
jusqu'à son faîte
tel un projet d'oiseau


FROM ONE SEASON TO ANOTHER

I’m revived by
the beauty of the tree
every moment
it shares with me its quietness
its leafless life
from one season to another
drags me to reach
its top
like a bird’s dream


NUIT ÉCLATÉE

Avez-vous remarqué
que la nuit porte en elle
toute la lumière du jour
ses accents graves
les plus fragiles
ses accents aigus
les plus osés

Nuit extravagante
éclatée de rire
en attente du jour
et la vie au-dedans
ses murmures
ses passions
et tous les accents appropriés
au fur et à mesure
des événements


SPARKLING NIGHT

Have you noticed that
the night carries within her
all the daylight
its most fragile
low sounds
its most daring
high ones

Fanciful night
bursting into laughter
while awaiting the day
and the life within
its whispers
its passions
and all the suitable sounds
gradually unfolding
as time goes on



DE TEMPS EN TEMPS

Le temps se porte bien
défile à travers les saisons
se repose chez l’enfant
hurle chez les grands
il passe

il passe d’un regard à l’autre
se méfie des heures rouges
de nos nuits trop noires
il file

il file entre rires et pleurs
se fait complice du vent
il secoue les événements
défie la lourdeur des âges
il attend

il attend
au coin de l’oeil
sans broncher

FROM TIME TO TIME

The time fares well
It passes through seasons
rests in children’s hearts
shouts in adults’ minds
It passes by

It moves from glance to glance
becomes suspicious when seeing red hours
in our darkest nights
It flies

It flies amidst laughter and tears
partner with the wind
It shakes events
defies the tension of ages
It waits

It waits
in a corner of the eye
without stumbling


RENCONTRE

Se saluer à travers les branches
devant la colère du vent
quand les jours se tordent
dans les reliefs du ciel

Se saluer à travers la voix
à travers l'oeil
pour faire durer le temps
pour dérober l'espace entre nos gestes
et inscrire un pacte
au registre de nos mémoires

Se reconnaître à travers une parole intense
comme des fous entêtés
et sous la caresse des mots
diluer un peu de soi dans la lumière diffuse


THE ENCOUNTER

Greetings through the branches
facing the wrath of the wind
when days are twisted
in the slopes of the sky

Greetings through our voices
through our eyes
making time linger
to conceal space between our acts
inscribing a pact
registered in our memories

Let us meet again though an intense word
like stubborn insane people
and with hugging words
disolving ourselves in a diffused light


ODETTE  BEAUDRY

Espoir

Que la lumière de ton visage                           
Vienne éclairer la nuit de mon âme

Que le feu de tes yeux
Enflamme la pierre de mon regard

Humer toute l'odeur de ton cœur
Aux frontières de l'abandon

Passer sur l'autre rive
Que survive l'amour de la mort
Apprivoisant les silences
Jusqu'à l'aube de nos corps

Mon amour, mon île
Tant de solitude psalmodiée
Dans le sang chaud des groseilles
Chant de fruits mûrs
Remarquables noces des soleils

Tu verras sur ton chemin tant de fleurs
Tant d'espace et tant de verdure
Tant de soleil et tant de mer
Ce sont là les plages de ton destin

Tes lèvres à l'ombre des misères
Engrosseront d'amour tes paroles
Rempliront le secret de mes désirs
J'attendrai jusque dans le soir nuptial

Et jusqu'aux heures tardives du réveil
Sur les berges des attentes océanes
Aux odeurs d'herbes folles et de miel d'or
Là où l'oiseau chante pour nous le bonheur

Et l'espoir...


Hope


May the glow of your face

enlighten the darkness of my soul



May the fire of your eyes

ignite the precious stone of my eyes

Letting all the fragrance of your heart
on the surrendering borders

Swimming to the further river-bank of life
May the love of impermanent death survive
Taming the quietness
until the dawn of our bodies

O my love, my sweet island
chanting many songs of solitude
In the warm blood of red currents
Songs of mature fruits
Emphasize on the union of the suns

On your path will smile many flowers
Much space and greenery
Much sunlight and many seas
These are the beaches of your fate

Your lips, freed from pain
will solely utter  sweet loving words
Embellishing my secret fantasies
I’ll wait until evening wedding

And remaining awake till the early morning
On the banks of oceanic expectations
To the smell of crazy herbs and golden honey
Where the bird sing for us a song of joy
I’ll wait

And hope…
                                                       


Je Cherche

Je cherche des morceaux d’âme
Sur un bateau de neige
Pris dans la glace
Sur les rives du fleuve

Je cherche des morceaux de ciel
Étouffé derrière l’avalanche de nuages
Dans la saison lumineuse
Aux écritures anciennes

Je cherche des morceaux d’enfance
Camouflés dans les courtines du Temps
Dans la blancheur des bancs de neige
Où glissent les traînes sauvages

Je cherche des morceaux de fleuve
Perdu sous des monceaux de glaces
Dans l’attente de l’hirondelle
Même si elle ne fait pas le printemps

Je cherche des morceaux de toi
Égaré dans mes tempêtes, mes poudreries
À la dérive de mon regard
Telles, des anges, les amours de nuit

Je cherche des morceaux de moi
Sur les ailes des Oiseaux de froidure
Qui volent au-dessus
Du vitrail blanc des hivers

Je cherche des morceaux de nous
Oubliés dans les Archives des Ans
Par delà les sables et les glaciers fondants
Avec la peur au ventre, de les retrouver...

Et je cherche...



I Seek

I seek fragments of the soul
On a snow boat
Stuck in ice
On the banks of the river

I seek fragments of the sky
Engulfed in an avalanche of clouds
In the bright season
Of ancient scriptures

I seek fragments of childhood
Concealed by the curtains of time
In the whiteness of snow-benches
Where slip the toboggans

I seek fragments of the river
Lost in the mounds of ice
While waiting for the swallow
Even if she doesn’t make a summer

I seek fragments of you
Lost in my storms, my blowing snow
And in the angels, in the passionate nights
Drifting from my glance

I seek fragments of myself
On the wings of cold birds
That fly above
The white stained glass of winters

I seek fragments of us
Locked in the Archives for years
Within the sand and melting glaciers
With the inner fear to find them again

And I seek…


Mes Amours

Mes amours dureront
jusqu’au nœud de ma mémoire
L’enfant en moi est la garantie
de la permanence


My Loves

My loves will last
in my long term memory node
The child in me is the proof
of permanence
                                                                                          
Biography: Huguette Bertrand
Huguette Bertrand is a French-Canadian poet and editor born in Sherbrooke (Québec), Canada.

She has published 33 poetry books. Her poems have also been published in many poetry journals and anthologies, in Canada, France, U.S.A, Romania and on many websites for the last 20 years.

She has participated in poetry shows, book shows, exhibition of her poetry on photos and conducted workshops in Quebec and France. She is the representative of the international movement Immagine & Poesia in Canada and editor of anthologies for this group.

Official website:  http://www.espacepoetique.com/poete/poete.html
Wikipedia :  https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huguette_Bertrand

Biography: Odette Beaudry (pseudonym: Ode)
Odette Beaudry (pseudonym: Ode) is a French Canadian (Québécoise) sculptor, painter, graphic designer, poet, novelist and professor of Visual Arts and French.

Ode graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Arts and Education from Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM).

She has been publishing her poetry on her website since 1999.
She has won various prestigious literary awards such as « Prix de la Francophonie 2010 ». She was also the winner of the poetry award Alain- Lefeuvre 2010 for the collection of her poems Le Fleuve donne Naissance aux Enfants des Etoiles.

She was also invited at Société des Poètes Français (SPF) in Paris in 2011and was the chief guest of the city of Nice where the famous poet Alain Lefeuvre lived.She also participated in a conference on Quebec’s literature at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen (CUM) in Nice.


Her Poetry book Voyage en Cosmogonie was translated into Italian by the poet, Mario Selvaggio and was published as a bilingual book (French-Italian) in 2016.
Ode co-authored the poetry book entitled Complicité, Chroniques Amoureuses with the poet Robert Ronnefoy  and it was published in February 2017.