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

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
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
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
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 .


2 thoughts on “Translation Victor Hugo Love poem “Certainly She Wasn’t “

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