Roselyne into Scots

Here are three poems from a set of seven I translated from the French of ‘Par La Porte du Silence’, a sequence Roselyne wrote on a Korean residency. Again, it was a sense that these particular poems might work well in a particular kind of Scots – something between the Imagism of early 20th century writing poets like MacDiarmid, Marion Angus, Lewis Spence, and the haiku-like focus of more recent figures like Hamilton Finlay or Alan Spence.

Dans la vallée d’aujourd’hui
je caresse un  nuage
et j’écris au silence
J’avance entre les brumes avec les arbres
La montagne souligne la courbe du temps


I thi glen o thi day
Eh coorie a clood
and scrieve tae thi silence

Eh step amang thi mists wi thi trees
thi ben’s crest underscores thi bend o time


Je ne peux attraper le frais de l’air sur ma joue
les pas de l’automne
les couleurs du vent dans la lumière
ni dessiner le vol des libellules
le souffle des mondes
Je cherche au bord des mots
et j’offre de l’eau en miroir à la lune


Eh cannae catch thi air that faas
sae caller on my cheek
autumn’s footfaa nor
hoo thi wind shifts colours i thi licht

Eh cannae sketch thi dragonflies’ flicht
nor thi braith o warlds
sae look tae thi borders o thi wurds
gee thi waater as a mirror tae thi mune


J’ai perdu mes mots dans l’étang des lotus
Avec le reflet des nuages
la grenouille rousse
écrira le poème


Eh tint meh wurds
i thi lotus tarn

wi thi likeness o thi cloods
the rusty taid
wull scrieve thi poem


About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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1 Response to Roselyne into Scots

  1. Merci ! J’entends la musique de ta langue. Rassure-toi : les mots chantent pour toi ! J’attends avec impatience les autres poèmes…

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