Paul Lochard

Poem Title or First Line

Le Fou de Saint-Marc / The Madman of Saint-Marc

Authors

Author

Paul Lochard

Translation By

Miriam Patterson

Translator Biography

Miriam Patterson is an associate professor in a private Christian university. She has been teaching Spanish for 18 years and she hopes to teach French soon, too. She's currently learning Italian and she, along with her family, travel around the world each summer. Miriam loves baking and cooking new recipes and enjoys exercising. She is originally from Mexico, but currently lives in Greenville, SC.

Publication Date

2022

Description

English translation of Paul Lochard's "The Madman of Saint-Marc"

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Le Fou de Saint-Marc / The Madman of Saint-Marc

English translation of Paul Lochard's "The Madman of Saint-Marc"

Original Work

Le Fou de Saint-Marc


L’ombre est partout au fond des choses.

Qui donc sait le secret de Dieu ?

Ces blonds enfants aux lèvres roses,

Que seront-ils sous le ciel bleu ?

Qui sait ce que le sort à cette heure en ordonne ?

Il fut enfant, maître infini,

Ce fou qui répétait d’une voix monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ? »


Pauvre être ! Il courait par la ville,

Vêtu d’affreux et noirs lambeaux ;

On l’eût pris dans sa course agile

Pour un échappé des tombeaux.

Sa voix avait l’accent de la trompe qui sonne.

Farouche et le regard terni,

Il fuyait et lançait ce refrain monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ? »


Les enfants le frappant des pierres

Parfois le blessaient en passant ;

Et ses pieds nus, sur la poussière,

Laissaient un long filet de sang.

Mais sourd, blême, stupide, et ne voyant personne,

Tel qu’un maudit par Dieu banni,

Il fuyait, et disait d’une voix monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ? »


Ainsi dans l’immense folie,

Seigneur, ou roulaient ses esprits,

A ta loi toujours obéie,

Sa voix jetait de sombres cris.

La Grèce l’aurait dit en proie à Tisiphone.

Ô deuil ! o trouble indéfini !

Oh ! pourquoi lançait-il ce refrain monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ? »


Toi seul, ô Dieu, connais son crime,

Puisqu’il porta ton châtiment ;

Je me courbe devant l’abîme

De ton auguste jugement !

Ah ! pour manger le pain que lui jetait l’aumône,

Pas un instant, ô Dieu béni !

Car toujours il fuyait et disait, monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ? »


Un jour près d’une humide ornière,

On le trouve sur le gazon,

Les yeux tournés vers la lumière,

Qui souriait à l’horizon.

Les moucherons sur lui tournoyaient en colonne,

Car, hélas ! tout était fini,

Puisqu’il ne lançait plus ce refrain monotone :

« Qu’ai-je fait au bon Dieu pour être ainsi puni ?


Poem by Paul Lochard

Translated Work

The Madman of Saint-Marc


Shadows are everywhere in the depths of things.

So who knows the secret of God?

These fair children with pink lips,

What will they become under the blue sky?

Who knows what fate at this hour ordains?

He was a child, infinite master,

This foolish man who monotonously repeated:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


Poor being! Running through the city,

Dressed in hideous black rags;

One would have taken him, in his agile race,

For a fugitive from the graveyard.

His voice had the tone of a sounding trumpet.

Fierce and with a tarnished gaze,

He fled and launched this monotonous refrain:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


Children throwing stones

Sometimes hurting him in passing;

And his bare feet, on the dust,

Left a long trail of blood.

But deaf, pale, stupid, and seeing no one,

He fled like one cursed and banished by God,

Repeating in a monotonous voice:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


So in the immense madness,

Lord, where his spirits moved,

His voice uttered dark cries

While always obeying his law.

Greece would have said he was prey to Tisiphone.

O mourning! O indefinite trouble!

Oh ! why did he cry out this monotonous refrain:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


You alone, O God, know his crime,

Since he bore your punishment;

I bend before the abyss

Of your august judgement!

Ah! to eat the bread thrown to him by charity,

Not for a moment, O blessed God!

For he was always fleeing, repeating monotonously:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


One day near a damp rut in the road,

He was found on the grass,

His eyes turned towards the light,

Smiling at the horizon.

Flies spiraled over him,

Because, alas! it was all over,

Since he no longer repeated the monotonous refrain:

"What in God's name have I done to be punished like this? »


Translated by Miriam Patterson, 2022