Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “A l’écoute: Receiver / All Clear” by Ciaran Carson
In the final week of National Translation Month, we’re featuring a unique kind of translation act. In From Elsewhere, Ciaran Carson translates poems by the French poet Jean Follain. However, the volume is different in that Carson pairs these translations with original poems inspired by them: “Translations of the translations,” as he explains in the preface. The resulting pairs allow the attentive reader to experience a conversation between two poets across time and space.
The first poem here is the direct translation, followed by Carson’s original response.
A l’écoute: Receiver
The vision lingers
trembling the hand which writes it down
in a room of the inn by starlight
the potato field.
When the farmer hears a footfall on the road
he leaves off digging
then turns on
his private listening
to the sounds of his world.
Every ear tunes to the radio
to hear Westminster
toll, a voice giving out
through the blackout searchlights crisscross
it is all clear, the ruins silent
the footfall of a drunken soldier
the echo of his song.