Who on earth is Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, and however did you come to translate her?
[…I] grabbed my Penguin Book of French Poetry 1820-1950 and looked for a woman I hadn't heard of. […Very] few of Marceline's poems are available in good verse translation, and so before I could really write well about her, I had to translate some myself. The chapbook contains 20 of her poems alongside an essay by Paul Verlaine in which he credits her with breaking the Alexandrine, a feat that contemporary scholarship accords, naturally, to him.
It was a day like this one, just as bright,
which set this love, with all to lose, alight.
It was a day of perfect charity,
in whose blue breezes strolls eternity,
where, freed from the stifling loads it has to bear,
the earth can play, a child without a care.
Aim for the sky. Cock the shit and shoot.
The block is. Hot, the block is hot
Ashes to ashes, dust to... Dust
It. Watch it. Turn it. Leave it.