Nothing More Now

poetry 0
Emmanuel Merle, tr. from the French by Peter Brown and Caroline Talpe


There’s nothing more now
but vacant bodies, the equations of being

I turn around: everyone is up to their shoulders
in sand, they strain to turn
their heads, and yet they clamor.

Every cry is an alarm set off.

There’s nothing more now
but the rains furrowing the discordant

I go again and look for you,
the crowd is walking on the names,
ravaging all consideration and compassion.

Everything is to the west, everything falls
behind the horizon as if
behind old furniture,

the dead sealed away in sacks
are unrelated to the being
they were just this morning.

There are no more shapes,
I go again and look for you.

Emmanuel Merle is a leading French poet who has published many books. His translation of poems by Jennifer Barber, Délivrances (La rumeur libre éditions), was published in France in 2018. One volume of his poems, Elsewhere on Earth, translated by Peter Brown, is available in English from Guernica Editions (Toronto).

Peter Brown is a fiction writer and translator. He is a founding editor, with Jennifer Barber, of Salamander.

Caroline Talpe is a Franco-American translator who lives in Cambridge, MA. Among other projects, she has collaborated with Emmanuel Merle and Peter Brown in the translation into French of the collected poems of David Ferry, Qui est là (La rumeur libre éditions, 2018), the forthcoming collection of the poems of Arthur Gold, Poèmes écrits pendant une période de maladie (Èditions Encre et lumiere, 2019), and an anthology of women poets in Boston (ongoing project).