Three Times Three Ellipses
To the Manes of Jean-Paul Soïme, Curtis Louisar, and Henri Guédon
Now even you have left, you too? Alas, our musician friends droop Little by little slip from view
Curtis Louisar, Henri Guédon . . . Our musical friends are gone Each humming his song
Alone, without trumpet or rasp They beg the Fête to last . . . Resounding in us at full blast
“Aganila,” “La Filo,” jazz in Creole A tune from guitar or viol— Who knows?—a sound that consoles
With an extra bit of melodious soul A biblical anagram beat transposed A riff, a harmonious show . . .
Nothing morose nor fi lled with distress Music above all the restWith nothing that weighs or remains at rest
Pointe des Nègres, August 9, 2007 [End Page 128]
Trois Points de Suspension
Aux Mânes de Jean-Paul Soïme, Curtis Louisar et Henri Guédon
Te voici parti, toi aussi? Las, nos musiciens amis S'éclipsent petit à petit
Curtis Louisar, Henri Guédon . . . Nos amis musiciens s'en vont Chacun fredonnant sa chanson
Solitaire, sans bruit ni trompette En priant que ne cesse la Fête . . . Qu’en nous résonnent à tue-tête
« Aganila », « La Filo », un jazz créole Un air de guitare ou de viole —On ne sait—un son qui console
En mélodieux supplément d’âme Un rythme de biblique anagramme Un boeuf, un harmonieux programme . . .
Rien d’angoissant ni de morose De la musique avant toute choseSans rien qui pèse ou qui pose
Pointe des Nègres, 9 août 2007 [End Page 129]
Suzanne Dracius, author and playwright from Martinique, won the Prize of the Society of French Poets for the body of her work, as well as the Prix Fetkann for her poetry collection. Dracius’s work emphasizes Martinique’s complex cultural history and its shaping by Asian, European, and African cultures.
Winner of grants from the Maryland Arts Council and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Nancy Naomi Carlson is the author of Stone Lyre: Poems of René Char. She is an associate editor for Tupelo Press and teaches at the Bethesda Writer’s Center.
Translator’s note: Jean-Paul Soïme (died on August 9, 2007) was a Martiniquan violinist, composer, and author whose group Malavoi performed “La Filo.” Soïme is an anagram for Moïse (Moses). Curtis Louisar (died in April 2007) was a Martiniquan singer and guitarist who wrote the song “Aganila.” Henri Guédon (died in February 2006) was a Martiniquan percussionist, painter, and sculptor. The last two lines of this poem come from Verlaine’s “Art poétique.”