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GRILLONS par Cynthia Atkins

I. Not enough moon to write by


Au clair de la lune,
Mon ami Pierrot,
Prête-moi ta plume
Pour écrire un mot.
Ma chandelle est morte,
Je n’ai plus de feu ;
Ouvre-moi ta porte,
Pour l’amour de Dieu.


No pen. No light. No heat.
The scrap of white in my hand
and the words burning in me.
A closed door in the dark.
For the love of God,
my friend.


II. Kitchen Fires


Au clair de la lune,
Pierrot répondit :
Je n’ai pas de plume ;
Je suis dans mon lit.
Va chez la voisine ;
Je crois qu’elle y est,
Car dans sa cuisine,
On bat le briquet.


I’m in the dark here too,
the counterpane warmed
by a rock at my feet
and the wind out there...
I am saying my prayers.
Almost I did not hear you
with my cap on—you
can tell how I am straining
my throat to shout to you now.
Why can’t this wait for morning?
Leave me be, Lubin.
Try next door.


III. Other gods


Au clair de la lune,
L’aimable Lubin
Frappe chez la brune ;
Ell' repond soudain :
« Qui frapp’d de la sorte ?’
Il dit à son tour :
« Ouvrez votre porte,
Pour le Dieu d’amour.»


Who is it ? What do you want ?
C’est moi, madame. Lubin ici.
Mais, c’est tard !
Pardon. Please, do you have—
Please, may I. That is, could you—


IV. Le mot perdu


Au clair de la lune,
On n’y voit qu’un peu.
On chercha la plume,
On chercha du feu.
En cherchant d’la sorte,
Je n’sais s’qu’on trouva,
Mais j’sais que la porte
Sur eux se ferma.


The coal dust on her fingers
Pierrot—that undid me.
As you knew it would,
while we fumbled in the dark
on the other side of the wall
and you lay between
your rough sheets and
the candle burned its

wasted light at your bedside
on the inkstand, the dry quill,
while you lay listening.

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Professor Chantel Lavoie (she/her) teaches at the Department of English, Culture, and Communication at the Royal Military College located on the Anishinabe and Haudenosaunee Traditional Territory. Her work: Collecting Women: Poetry and Lives 1700-1780, Bucknell UP: 2009; forthcoming: Writing through Boyhood in the Eighteenth Century: Age, Gender, and Work, University of Delaware Press / Rutgers, fall 2023. Chantel Lavoie enseigne au département d’anglais, culture et communication du Collège Militaire royal lequel est situé sur les terres ancestrales des peuples Haudenosaunee et Anishinabe.

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