Laura Nagle

Strangers, all of us. Our lifetime, like a skiff
Blown by the wind’s kiss across an ocean vast,
Drifts gently away and vanishes at last
On the horizon as if over a cliff.

Fortunate it is if that little boat’s wake
Remains visible—if its path, quickly traced
Across the water, is not at once erased
By changing currents or by waves as they break.

Fortunate are we, when by fate we are led
Away from this world, if alive we remain
In one person’s heart while on the distant plane
Known to the living as the tomb of the dead.
Laura Nagle is a translator and writer based in Indianapolis. Her translations of prose and poetry from French and Spanish have recently appeared in The Southern Review, ANMLY, Circumference, and Columbia Journal. Her translation of Prosper Mérimée's 1827 hoax, Songs for the Gusle, was recently published by Frayed Edge Press.


Alice de Chambrier

Nous sommes étrangers et passons sur la terre
Comme un esquif léger qui fuit en se jouant
Sous les furtifs baisers d’une brise légère,
Et dans l’horizon bleu disparaît lentement;

Heureux si le sillon qu’il marque dans sa fuite
Demeure quelque temps après qu’il a passé;
Si quelque tourbillon n’efface tout de suite
Le chemin qu’en son cours rapide il a tracé;

Heureux si, dans les lieux d’où le sort nous entraîne,
Il nous demeure un cœur où nous vivions encor,
Un seul cœur qui nous suive en la plage lointaine
Que l’on nomme ici-bas le sépulcre d’un mort.

Alice de Chambrier (1861–1882) was a poet and writer from Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She began writing as a teenager and composed numerous poems, along with several short stories and plays, before her death from a diabetic coma at age 21.


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