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À mon chevet: Apollinaire's Hotel

available at Amazon
Ma chambre a la forme d'une cage,
Le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre.
Mais moi qui veux fumer pour faire des mirages
J'allume au feu du jour ma cigarette.
Je ne veux pas travailler -- je veux fumer.

My bedroom is shaped like a cage,
The sun puts its arm through the window.
But I, wanting to smoke to make mirages,
I light my cigarette from the day's fire.
I do not want to work -- I want to smoke.

-- Guillaume Apollinaire, "Hôtel" (from Le guetteur mélancolique), trans. Charles T. Downey
Francis Poulenc set this poem memorably to music in Banalités, in which it is no. 2.


Anonymous said...

Here is Russian translation:

Комната моя подобна клетке,
Солнце руку сунуло в оконце.
Что б мираж увидеть очень редкий,
Сигарету я зажег от солнца.
Я хочу курить - я не хочу работать.

I do not know who's translation it is (Boris Pasternak?). I memorized it 20+ years ago and it is one of the most beautiful poetry images ever...

R.Kudryashov said...

Beautiful poem. How come you posted it?

Anonymous said...

His Majesty Internet says that Russian version belongs to Oleg Ivanovich Dahl.

Anonymous said...

Here is another Russian translation, nice either:

В окно мне солнце подало огня
Как узнику еду приносят в клетку
От жара наступающего дня
Прикуриваю молча сигаретку
Работать не хочу хочу курить

Leo said...

pink martini - sympathique

Pink martini made this poem a song. Good one

DKNJ said...

Well before Pink Martini, there was Francis Poulenc. Worth a listen. :)