à quoi bon être poète
semble dans la tête comme
marteau feu enclume clou couteau
ou l’éclat d’une baudroie ou des
à la fin
pour ce qui importe
on fait toujours mauvais traduction
la douleur est un langue
où les mots sont minable tentative
à ce qu’on ne peut que vivre
dans le corp
toi qui connais
ce mal d’aujourd’hui
avec de l’aide
what good is being poet
seems in the head like
hammer fire anvil nail knife
or the brilliance of a monkfish or
at the end
for what matters
we always do bad translation
pain is a language
where the words are shabby attempt
we can only live
in the body
you who know
this evil of today
is it a
Dominik Parisien, "Un Docteur Anglophone Traduit les Inquiétudes de Son Patient Avec Google/An English Speaking Doctor Translates the Concerns of his Patient with Google" from Side Effects May Include Strangers. Copyright © 2020 by Dominik Parisien.
Source: Side Effects May Include Strangers (Hugh MacLennan poetry series, 2020)
Identify the literary devices used in the second and third stanzas of this poem.
Read the poem left to right, line by line. What emotional effect do the grammatical and translation choices have for you as a reader?
In a table, list the different characterizations and roles associated with the poet/patient and the doctor in this poem.
In reading the last stanza, sum up the question the patient is asking of the doctor. How do you imagine the doctor might respond?
- Practice reciting this poem with a friend, with one person reciting in English, and the other in French, perhaps switching partway through. Try reciting line by line, stanza by stanza, and column by column. How many different combinations can you come up with?
Write a poem in French or English and use an online translator to transcribe a line-by-line translation of the poem in a parallel column.