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Aidan Rooney: Reliquary (after Ida Faubert)

Here, in a small rosewood box

lined with silver satin,

your locket still attached

to a closed gold chain.

And here a knot of pink ribbon

sheaves your sun-bleached locks

in the lined-with-silver-satin

small rosewood box.

My tired heart and sad mind

from tears shed overmuch

pine still for your good looks;

and my soul stays confined

in the rosewood box.


Rondel des Reliques

                   Ida Faubert (1882-1969)

Dans le coffret en bois de rose,

Doublé de satin argenté,

Voici ton médaillon sculpté,

Avec ta chaîne d’or, bien close.

Voici, noués d’un ruban rose,

Tes cheveux blonds comme l’été,

Dans le coffret en bois de rose,

Doublé de satin argenté.

Vois, mon cœur las, mon cœur morose,

Après avoir tant sangloté,

Rêve toujours à ta beauté ;

Et mon âme demeure enclose

Dans le coffret en bois de rose.

Ida Faubert (1882-1969) was a complex Haitian poet, widely regarded as the first Haitian woman poet to receive recognition from the literary establishments of her time in Haiti and France. The daughter of Lysius Salomon, President of Haiti from 1879 until 1888, she was born in Port-au-Prince and educated in France where she went on to spend most of her life. In Paris, she ran with the literary and artistic crowd in the salons and bals of the roaring twenties, counting among her coterie the surrealist artists, André Desnos and Juan Miró, feminist bisexuals of the Rive Gauche such as Anna de Noailles and the mononymous Colette, and the writers Jean Richepin and Jean Vignaud.

“Reliquary” is from Ida Faubert’s sole poetry collection, Cœur des îles, published in Paris (chez René Debresse) in 1939. The poem is one of several elegies lamenting the death of her infant daughter, Jacqueline.

Adaptation and endnote copyright 2021 Aidan Rooney. “Rondel des Reliques” by Ida Faubert is in the public domain.

4 comments on “Aidan Rooney: Reliquary (after Ida Faubert)

  1. Barbara Huntington
    November 19, 2021

    Read in English first. Then French. There is something left from the French class over 50 years ago. It still felt beautiful to my lips although I was murdering it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aidan Rooney
      November 23, 2021

      Glad it had that effect, Barbara.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sean Sexton
    November 19, 2021

    And as lovely as my next breath to draw.

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2021 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , , .

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