Poet's Pick April 4
Apollinaire: "Shadow"
Selected by Beverley Bie Brahic
National Poetry Month 2018

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Beverley Bie Brahic's Poetry Month Pick, April 4, 2018

by Apollinaire (1880–1918)
translated by Beverley Bie Brahic

Here you are at my side again
Memories of my companions dead at war
Olive of time
Memories now all sewn into one
As a hundred furs make only one coat
As the thousands of wounds make only one newspaper article
Impalpable and somber apparition grown
To the shifting shape of my shadow
An Indian on the lookout for all eternity
Shadow you crawl along beside me
But you no longer hear me
Nor will you know the divine poems I sing
While I hear you I see you still
Multiple shadow may the sun watch over you
You who love me so you never will go away
Who dance in the sun without kicking up dust
Ink shadow of the sun
Script of my light
Caissons of regrets
A god who humbles himself


* Beverley Bie Brahic Comments:
Apollinaire may be France’s greatest 20th century writer. A friend of the Cubists, Picasso and Braque, he planned to call his second collection of poems “Me Too I’m a Painter,” but war intervened, and not fully recovered from a head wound he caught the Spanish flu and died. Many of the poems in the innovative book he eventually published are war poems, striking in their contrasts with what Anglo-Saxon readers have come to think of as World War 2 poems: vivid in colour (like the painters he loved), experimental in style with their Cubistic disjunctions concreteness: poems whose writing mimicked what they they described, rain, say, celebrative and tender, like “Shadow.”

About Beverley Bie Brahic:
Beverley Bie Brahic’s collection White Sheets (CB editions) was a 2012 Forward Prize finalist; Hunting the Boar (CBe) is a 2016 Poetry Book Society Recommendation and Apollinaire, The Little Auto (CBe) won the 2013 Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize. The Hotel Eden will be published by Carcanet in 2018. Brahic is Canadian and she lives in Paris. Her website is www.beverleybiebrahic.com

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