André du Bouchet
Motor of Night
Translated from the French by Eric Fishman
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
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.