Thursday, December 23, 2021

Patrice de La Tour du Pin / Psalm 4


Psalm 4

by Patrice de La Tour du Pin

Translated from the French by Jennifer Grotz

Because I sing sometimes of angels,
some believe I aspire to their purity.

They make me laugh, my critics,
those who think I’m ashamed of my flesh!

Yet must I sleep alone for the rest of my life,
remain all alone in this life?

Desire rises up to my teeth.
I’m overtaken by wild beasts

that turn against me and attack with fangs,
that in an instant populate the desert of my soul.

I never knew they could be roused
by the need of my own flesh.

I have barely explored my solitudes,
I believe the beasts are only calling out to you,

to you and your creations, perhaps,
to your angels who are always passing through.

They are only asking for tenderness,
the freshness of a woman’s smile.

No, it’s not my flesh I question
but not having enough love to give.

PATRICE DE LA TOUR DU PIN (1911–75) was best known in France for the three-volume multi-genre work entitled Une Somme de poésie and several shorter books of poetry, including Psaumes de tous mes temps, which brings together the psalms he wrote and revised throughout his life.

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