TABLEAUTABLEAU
Charles Crostrans. James Kirkup
Enclavé dans les rails, engraissé de scories,
Leur petit potager plaît à mes rêveries.
Le père est aiguilleur à la gare de Lyon.
Il fait honnêtement et sans rébellion
Son dur métier. Sa femme, hélas! qui serait blonde,
Sans le sombre glacis du charbon, le seconde.
Leur enfant, ange rose éclos dans cet enfer
Fait des petits châteaux avec du mâchefer.
À quinze ans il vendra des journaux, des cigares
Peut-être le bonheur n'est-il que dans les gares!
In an enclave between the rails, soil fertilized by clinkers,
Their little vegetable plot entertains my reveries.
The father is a pointsman at the Gare de Lyon.
He does an honest day's work, without rebellious thoughts,
In his exhausting job. His wife, alas! who should be blonde
But for the glazings of coal-dust, lends him a hand.
Their child, pink-cheeked angel hatched in that hell,
Builds his little sand-castles out of cinders.
When he's fifteen, he'll be selling newspapers, cigars:
Perhaps you find happiness only in railway stations?

Trans. copyright © James Kirkup 2002


next
index
translator's next