EXERCISEDRILL
Guillaume Apollinairetrans. Timothy Adès
Vers un village de l'arrièreFour men were making their way to the rear
S'en allaient quatre bombardiersEach of the four was a bombardier
Ils étaient couverts de poussièreBack to a village, they'd been stood down
Depuis la tête jusqu'aux piedsCovered in dust from toe to crown.
Ils regardaient la vaste plaineThey looked at the plain and it was vast
En parlant entre eux du passéAnd they were talking about the past.
Et ne se retournaient qu'à peineThey talked about the past so well
Quand un obus avait tousséThey hardly turned round at the crump of a shell.
Tous quatre de la classe seizeNot for them was the future, this class of '16.
Parlaient d'antan non d'avenirTheir talk of the past and how it had been
Ainsi se prolongeait l'ascèseWas the working out of a discipline
Qui les exerçait à mourirThat ground them down till it grubbed them in.
Trans. Copyright © Timothy Adès 2001



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