for Arthur Rimbaud
without refuge or return – phonemes.
We will hark if such
resurgent souls ordain a dreamt verse:
A (offspring of perfect
murders, so unseen that stranglers
fulfill no crime, and thus
mourners must call the unjust schemes
overdoses); E (charmed
slumber that engulfs the sleepers,
cradled by dreamlike
Sirens who sing mankind, forlorn themes);
I (corrupted archangel,
shriven when mercy redeems
all shadowy spectres
who plunder shipwrecked believers);
U (the Sphinx, beheld
by disciples, then by infidels:
a riddle that grieves
a king; a truth that crippled minstrels
must bewail in epics,
like staunch martyrs whom Furies spurn);
O (untempted Saint,
who lends this typewritten utterance
– an endless cycle of perseverance).
O, how the Bards
abolish symbols, when the letters burn….
“Phonemes” is a homovocalic translation of “Voyelles,” preserving the sequence of vowels from the original, while replacing all other components with different consonants. The translation retains the schemes of both metre and rhyme, while citing the ambience of meanings from the source.