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Elsa au miroir (English translation)

French
French
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Elsa au miroir

C'était au beau milieu de notre tragédie
Et pendant un long jour assise à son miroir
Elle peignait ses cheveux d'or Je croyais voir
Ses patientes mains calmer un incendie
C'était au beau milieu de notre tragédie
 
Et pendant un long jour assise à son miroir
Elle peignait ses cheveux d'or et j'aurais dit
C'était au beau milieu de notre tragédie
Qu'elle jouait un air de harpe sans y croire
Pendant tout ce long jour assise à son miroir
 
Elle peignait ses cheveux d'or et j'aurais dit
Qu'elle martyrisait à plaisir sa mémoire
Pendant tout ce long jour assise à son miroir
À ranimer les fleurs sans fin de l'incendie
Sans dire ce qu'une autre à sa place aurait dit
 
Elle martyrisait à plaisir sa mémoire
C'était au beau milieu de notre tragédie
Le monde ressemblait à ce miroir maudit
Le peigne partageait les feux de cette moire
Et ces feux éclairaient des coins de ma mémoire
 
C'était un beau milieu de notre tragédie
Comme dans la semaine est assis le jeudi
 
Et pendant un long jour assise à sa mémoire
Elle voyait au loin mourir dans son miroir
 
Un à un les acteurs de notre tragédie
Et qui sont les meilleurs de ce monde maudit
 
Et vous savez leurs noms sans que je les aie dits
Et ce que signifient les flammes des longs soirs
 
Et ses cheveux dorés quand elle vient s'asseoir
Et peigner sans rien dire un reflet d'incendie.
 
Submitted by arc-en-cielarc-en-ciel on 2020-09-13
English translationEnglish
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Elsa at mirror

It was in the very midst of our tragedy
And all that long day sitting before her mirror
She was combing her golden hair it looked to me as if
her patient hands calming a blaze
It was in the very midst of our tragedy
 
And all that long day sitting before her mirror
She was combing her golden hair and I looked to me as if
It was in the very midst of our tragedy
She was playing a melody on the harp halfheartedly
all that long day sitting before her mirror
 
And combing her golden hair and it looked to me as if
she was tormenting her memory eagerly
All that long day sitting before her mirror
Reviving the flowers of the fire rising endlessly
Without saying what another woman in her place would say
 
She tormented her memory eagerly
It was in the very midst of our tragedy
The world resembled this cursed mirror
The comb parted the fires of this moire
And these fires lit up the corners of my memory
 
It was in the midst of our tragedy
As Thursday sits in the middle of the week
 
And all that long day sitting before her memory
She saw in distance of her mirror dying
 
One by one the actors of our tragedy
The best actors indeed in this cursed world
 
And you know their names without me saying them
As you know what the flames of the long evenings mean
 
And her golden hair when she comes and sits here
And combs, without saying a word, a reflected blaze.
 
Thanks!
thanked 17 times

The translation is done by Bahareh Tajfirouz.Please ask for permission if you would like to use or reprint it.

Submitted by arc-en-cielarc-en-ciel on 2020-09-21
Last edited by arc-en-cielarc-en-ciel on 2020-09-22
Comments
JadisJadis    Tue, 22/09/2020 - 09:05

Thank you, beautiful text, and the translation stands close to it. There might be som subtleties, for ex :
--- to rekindle the everlasting flowers of blaze
Actually (IMHO) it rather means something like « rekindling the flowers of the fire, constantly rising again » , but I don't know how to say it nicely in English.
 
--- Without saying what another woman in her place would say > would have said (but the verse might be a little long)
 
--- As Thursday sat in the middle of the week > Just like Thursday sits in the middle of the week
 
--- In the two following stanzas, the author uses syntactical zeugmas (a break in the syntax) :
« Un à un les acteurs de notre tragédie
 Et qui sont les meilleurs de ce monde maudit »
the actors are 1/ actors of our tragedy, 2/ the best actors in this world
 
« Et vous savez leurs noms sans que je les aie dits
 Et ce que signifient les flammes des longs soirs »
you know 1/ their names, 2/ what the flames mean
 
But I'm not sure that one can obtain the same effect in English, so perhaps one would have to repeat the main word, to make it clearer, for ex :
 
One by one the actors of our tragedy
The best actors indeed in this cursed world
 
And you know their names without me saying them
 As you know what the flames of the long evening mean

 
--- And her golden hair when she sits there > And her golden hair when she comes and sits here
 
Anyway, those are all details, you caught the most of it, thanks!

silencedsilenced    Tue, 22/09/2020 - 12:26

Well done! Just a bit more nitpicking, but these are mere suggestions.

Elsa at mirror -> "at mirror" sounds like the title of a painting, but the French can be read that way too.

j'aurais dit -> that's idiomatic for "I could have sworn" or "it (really) looked to me as if".
I'm not sure the English means the same, but I might be wrong.

des coins de ma mémoire -> I understand "des coins" closer to "des recoins" (recesses, nooks and crannies) but "corners" might do too.

À ranimer les fleurs -> "à" rather designates what you do (exclusively) in a situation.
For instance: "je reste là à t'attendre" -> I (just) stand there waiting for you.
Here that would be something like "(spending her day) reviving the flowers..."

Without saying what another woman in her place would say -> I think that might be shortened a bit for balance.
Maybe "without saying what another would then" ?

les flammes des longs soirs -> I'd rather keep "evenings" in plural

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