André du Bouchet

Home » Issue 86 » André du Bouchet

André du Bouchet

Motor of Night

Translated from the French by Eric Fishman

Ruptured sky

The water hasn’t had time to dry
it spreads on the road
like a hand

            Cloud on the move

There’s no wind
There’s no light


Dog crawling toward the shadow
Breathing on the dust with its muzzle
In the morning’s cold weave

An unfastened wing rolls in the sky

Clouds sharper than stone
tumble from the throat and break their moorings
They stone the sky

Reborn day brings me gently to earth

The insatiable chest still mining the sky
the eye
a switch-blade
I make coins from light.

Eric Fishman reads “Motor of Night”

André du Bouchet  (1924–2001) is recognized as one of the greatest French authors of the twentieth century. A groundbreaking poet, he was also a prolific translator from the English, German, and Russian, as well as a noted critic of art and literature. He published nearly seventy books in all. These include scores of volumes of verse and lyric prose, numerous works on Giacometti and other artists, along with translations of Faulkner, Shakespeare, Joyce, Hölderlin, Riding, and Pasternak. In the late sixties he co-founded—with Yves Bonnefoy, Jacques Dupin, Paul Celan, and others—the influential literary journal  L’Éphémère.  Among many honors, he was awarded the National Poetry Prize of France in 1983.

Eric Fishman  is an elementary school teacher, writer, and translator. His bilingual collection of André du Bouchet’s  poetry,  Outside, was released in summer 2020 (Bitter Oleander Press, with Hoyt Rogers). Eric is currently translating a selected volume of poems by the Martinican author Monchoachi.