« Ada chinchin berisi bunga,
Bunga berladong si-ayer mata »
(‘The ring set with flowers,
The flowers heavy with tears’)
These words – rare, inestimable, harmoniously matched –
Which inspire me, enthuse me,
Call me, illuminate and guide me!
I want to compose my poems with the gentle akribeia of goldsmiths,
With a meticulous, precise attention to detail,
So that my work with the chisel is as careful as
The well digger delving
Into the heart of a thirsty earth.
Delightful sentences, words of translucent purity,
Lines whose clear tones
Lend to the music of the amorous sea
Their heartrending elegance!
Thus the modest nostalgia for what has already taken place
And for what may never happen,
Is incised with an absolute precision, with a passionate determination
Into the marble of our trembling memory!
Thus the ethereal sword of a serene voice
Brusquely opens the solitary soul to quiet devotion
And carves out hours closely with the transparency of the text.
Then, the love of a moment sculpted with grace
Lasts several eternities
And the trouble taken over a song elaborated with
Brightness, skill, exactitude and finesse
Becomes more profound than a Biblical hymn
Translated from the French of Athanase Vantchev de Thracy by Norton Hodges