Sunday, September 4, 2022

Rose Després : Three Poems from Séjour à Belle-Côte, translated by Jérôme Melançon and revised by the author



unfurling the knot of unhealthy vigilance

unacceptable fineries
parading enchantment
of luscious lianas

lulled by a cajoling wind

a crass deceiver’s
evidence of crimes
supporting proofs of hatred

with fear interwoven
pitiful moans

braided into a fatal knot

the hangman’s rope sniggers
while binding heritage
and history

human parody
threatens us with extinction

miserable we crawl
much like slugs
in powdery lime

spread by the powerful
over all terrains

entire cities

flapping wings of noisy vultures
circle the thrones

where siege

hearse-like cosmetic figures

sewers overflowing with leeches
whisper the only mantra possible:

alone we are born

alone we die


in awe under the stars
a sparkling testimony

retrieves us

just in time
for the inexplicable return of sphinxes

and liberated dragonesses

who spring forth within us
after the devastation
of harsh immolated lands

an authentic Spring
finally manifests

its genuine April transmutation
scattering the confining heaviness

of polar blankets
that surround

the true
magnificently colored



troubled forests

poachers always propagate
other bloody expeditions

wounded by a bullet’s ricochet
an eagle
takes refuge in shrubs

near the woods edge
where shrill echoes of its cry

barely pierce the stinking cloudy swarm
discoloring a crystalline dawn

slaughter enters the gateway
where a few sentries
trip over messes

of yet another capture

tentacles of wars
slither squalid
around abandoned barricades

shutters closed
arid passages deserted

expulsions of peoples
from soiled seized lands
banish us too


peevish history
unhinges all surroundings

that lead us
and lead us

repeating itself

and repeating us



[Jérôme Melançon also reviewed Séjour à Belle-Côte]






Actress, musician, singer, songwriter, and teacher, Rose Després has been active for over thirty years in the Acadian literary, artistic, and cultural network. She continues to bring noticeable contributions to many conferences, literary festivals, international exchanges and cultural representation and development organisations.

In 2001, Rose was awarded the Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie prize for her collection La vie prodigieuse. In 2012 an anthology of her first four books appeared in the Bibliothèque canadienne-française collection. With Vraisemblable (2013), she continued to deepen her grasp on the salutary power of poetry. She translated the Ontario poet Phil Hall’s collection Le pluvier kildir (Killdeer, Governor General’s award) and the Métis writer Katherena Vermette’s book femme-rivière (river woman).

Jérôme Melançon writes and teaches and writes and lives in oskana kâ-asastêki / Regina, SK. His most recent chapbook is with above/ground press, Tomorrow’s Going to Be Bright (2022, after 2020’s Coup), and his most recent poetry collection is En d’sous d’la langue (Prise de parole, 2021). He has also published two books of poetry with Éditions des Plaines, De perdre tes pas (2011) and Quelques pas quelque part (2016), as well as one book of philosophy, La politique dans l’adversité (Metispresses, 2018). He has edited books and journal issues, and keeps publishing academic articles that have nothing to do with any of this. He’s on Twitter mostly, and sometimes on Instagram, both at @lethejerome.