The Virgin Maid of Orleans, Translation of Paul Verlaine's sonnet: La Pucelle

The Virgin Maid of Orleans, Translation of Paul Verlaine’s La Pucelle
To Robert Caze*

Even as the blaze crackled around the stake’s pyre,
Joan was deafened by the clergy’s brutal chanting,
Harsh eyes with hate from all the windows demeaning,
She felt her flesh quiver and her soul budge on fire.

And like lambs that resold to the butcher expire
The shepherd roams with country airs whistling
She reflects in earnest on things and being
And meets her lord who ungrateful does conspire.

« It’s wrong, gentle Bastard, sweet Charles*, good Xaintrailles,
To let the English take charge of her funeral
She who forced them to abandon the siege of Orleans. »

And as for Lorraine, the very thought of that injury,
While death clasped in its arms the non-believers,
Weary ! She cried out just as another creature formerly.

• Acc. to Yves-Alain Favre, a journalist (1853-1886), slain in a duel.
• Charles the VII, crowned King at Rheims on July 17, 1429, with the help of Joan of Arc who was then aged 15. It was thought Charles VII may not have been the son of his father, Charles VI, owing to an extra-marital affaire with a Bavarian monarch.

• © T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013

T. Wignesan

If I might be allowed to say so, I think my "first" love was poetry. Unfortunately for me, the British curricula at school did not put me in touch with the Metaphysical Poets, nor with the post-Georgian school. Almost all the school texts after World War II contained invariably Victorian narrative poems and some popular examples of Romantic poetry. I chanced upon a selection of T. S. Eliot's and Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a little later on Pope's An Essay on Man and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. That did the trick. Yet, I regret not having taken to prose in earnest earlier than the publication of my first collection: Tracks of a Tramp (1961). There's nothing like trying your hand at all kinds of prose exercises to come to grips with poetry. Or rather to see how poetry makes for the essence of speech/Speech and makes you realise how it can communicate what prose cannot easily convey. I have managed to put together several collections of poems, but never actually sought to find homes for them in magazines, periodicals or anthologies. Apart from the one published book, some of my sporadic efforts may be sampled at of Poems.htm

Last updated October 04, 2013