The Street Corner

The Street Corner

Years we had looked
to find that place again.
We followed the music
of Spanish guitar
on the street
by the Jazz Club de Papa,
where once the city became
suddenly silent
and a sweet voice
sang a high and beautiful
Ave Maria
on the street corner of
St Benoit.

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Translation Victor Hugo Love poem “Certainly She Wasn’t “

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While staying in the one bedroom apartment my wife and I recently rented in Paris I noticed on a bookshelf , a book of French Erotic Love poetry . I was surprised to find in it , a love poem written by Victor Hugo entitled simply … “Certainly She Wasn’t .”

I thought the poem was unique so I am attempting a translation in English below . I’ve taken some liberties with the translation and hope I’m not too far off the mark as my French could always use some brushing up, so I have relied on some poetic intuition to try to make up for my linguistic shortfalls.

Certainly she wasn’t …

Certainly she wasn’t
both woman
and charming in vain
But the earthly in her
had an air of divine .
Flames flickered
on her fearless lips
as she accepted
fiery love
in all its blaze.
Her tender yielding
was high & serene .
She submitted self
yet remained a queen .
A supreme grace and
what more
unexpected
than to have seen,
A whole self given
without loss of a thing .
She lay uncovered
on bed
with an abandon sublime
as if on the edge
of a peak of time,
and gradually
as she graced
conquering love ,
one would say
that the heavens
sprang from her heart,
and caressed
one with light
from above.
Bare feet made
her walk
all the more proud ,
to the abode of entities
steeped
in perfect beauty
& love .
It came to him
in the shadow
cast by a clarity
like nocturnal halo
of celestial poles .
Throughout the kisses
across her white shoulders
one would have believed
to have seen
pure white wings
rising
ever so slowly .
Her look was a blue ,
a firmament blue ,
with grace of
exceptional woman
who departing
from virgin
was transformed
to an angel .