from Issue #6: Poetry by Flora Delalande, translated by N. J. Tait

Photo (CC) aquarelleromatinque @ Flickr

Image: Théodore Géricault, Le radeau de la Méduse (CC) aquarelleromatinque @ Flickr


Read Flora Delalande’s original French, then the English translation in blue. 



J’écorcherai mon cœur aux étoiles
Je l’étendrai entre nos mondes
Et je partirai sous mes voiles
Au gré des vents, au gré de l’onde

Mon corps diaphane sur l’eau diffuse
Les yeux fermés, la plaie ouverte
Mon cœur de femme sur la Méduse
Le poing serré, la main offerte

Mes ongles nus sur le miroir
Griffent le verre, sculptent le flot
Je m’abandonne à cet espoir
De te rejoindre sur mon radeau

Le vent se lève, le bois se brise
Le ciel s’arrache en trous béants
Toute une vie à la dérive
Arriverai-je jamais à temps ?

…………………………………………………………(Dialogue avec l’Orage, 2011)


I will throttle my star-studded heart
I will string it out between our worlds
And I will set out under sail
As winds will have it, as waves will have it

My gossamer body swells over the sea
Eyes shut, wound exposed
My woman’s heart on the Medusa
Fist closed tight, hand outstretched

My fingernails naked on the mirror
Scrape the glass, sculpt the current
To this hope I surrender myself
To reach you on my raft

The wind is rising, the wood is going to splinters
The sky is torn apart into abyssal holes
A whole lifetime adrift
Will I never arrive in time?

…………………………………………………………..(Dialogue with the Storm, 2011)


Une goutte, une seule

Sous les toits de tôle, j’ai eu envie de pleurer nos décombres. Prendre ta tête entre mes mains et l’apaiser, une dernière fois. Dénouer le fil qui me retient, qui tend les larmes jusqu’à l’extrême.

J’ai vu un pistolet sur une table en désordre.
Une tasse de thé pleine de pluie.
Une main coupée, des doigts rigides

et un tableau troué, de guingois, sur le mur.

One drop, just one

Under the tin-sheet roofs, I felt like weeping for our wreckage. Taking your head in my hands and consoling it, one last time. Unknotting the thread restraining me, contracting tears to the extreme.

I saw a pistol on a cluttered table.
A teacup filled with rain.
A severed hand, stiff fingers

and a riddled painting, lopsided, on the wall.



Il faudrait pouvoir être une étoile filante
Simple trait de lumière illuminant le ciel
L’instant d’une seconde, accrocher les regards
Disparaître et mourir, un sourire sur vos lèvres

Rien qu’une étoile filante dans un noir épuisé
Un épi de lumière oublié par la nuit


One should have the chance to be a falling star
A simple trace that spreads light over the sky
For the instant of one second, laying hold of every gaze
To vanish and die, a smile across your lips

No more than a falling star in black fatigue
A lit pinpoint the night forgets



Flora Delalande is a young French historian and poet. Born in Normandy, she began writing poetry when she was sixteen. In 2011, she created the organisation « Le Temps des Rêves » with other poets interested in fusing different art-forms. After Dialogue avec l’Orage [Dialogue with the Storm], her first poetry book, she published Trésors parcheminés [Treasures in parchment], illustrated by Hassan Manasrah, a Palestinan sketch artist. In 2013 she began to perform her poetry live.

N. J. Tait is a translator and freelance writer and editor who works mainly on the north coast of New South Wales.


Contrappasso, Issue #6 – launching in September 2014

Cover image "DSC02603" (CC) Vincent Lou @ Flickr, altered from original

Cover image “DSC02603” (CC) Vincent Lou @ Flickr, altered from original


New Issue. New Authors. Contrappasso 6 is launching soon! This issue explores still more possibilities in international writing, bringing together work from nine countries in four languages, by more than twenty authors who are appearing in the journal for the first time.

Their work leads from snowy streets in Montana to packed train stations in Tokyo, from Hong Kong horse races to Sicilian passion-plays, from the Coal River Valley to Manila shopping malls, and from an iron lung to The Raft of the Medusa.

This issue features interviews with Australian poet Judith Beveridge, veteran American crime writer Lawrence Block and Filipino novelist Jose Dalisay. It presents new fiction by Japanese novelist Mitsuyo Kakuta (translated by Aoi Matsushima), Chilean Álvaro Bisama (translated by Megan McDowell) and from the USA, Jon A. Jackson and R. Zamora Linmark. The poets are Elizabeth Smither, Iain Britton and Stephen Oliver (New Zealand), Flora Delalande (France), Penny Florence (UK), Ouyang Yu (China/Australia) and Richard James Allen, Stuart Barnes, Jamie Grant, Siobhan Hodge, Frank Russo and Les Wicks (Australia).

Watch this website to sample the work this all-new ensemble of writers. They travel far.

The Editors