She’s the one

After Louise Labé, Sonnet XVII

etching by Paula Modersohn-Becker

So I’ve not been going into town or to church
or anywhere,
she says, where I might
run into him and let him soft-soap me
into giving it another go.

I’ve not been dancing, or to watch the game –
it’s no fun without him anyway. I’ve tried
everything to cool things down, stay away,
find new interests, even…

find myself a new man! I’ve been taking
long walks in the woods on my own, the lot,

she says, but now it dawns on her

he won’t be leaving their town any time soon –
she’s the one who’s got to get out of there,
out of her own head, start over.


Je fuis la vile, & temples, & tous lieus,
Esquels prenant plaisir à t’ouir pleindre,
Tu peus, & non sans force, me contreindre
De te donner ce qu’estimois le mieux.

Masques, tournois, jeus me sont ennuieus,
Et rien sans toy de beau ne me puis peindre:
Tant que tachant à ce desir esteindre,
Et un nouvel obget faire à mes yeus,

Et des pensers amoureus me distraire,
Des bois espais sui le plus solitaire:
Mais j’aperçoy, ayant erré maint tour,

Que si je veus de toy estre delivre,
Il me convient hors de moymesme vivre,
Ou fais encor que loin sois en sejour.

 

Image: etching by Paula Modersohn-Becker, c. 1900.

My other translations and versions of sonnets by Louise Labé are here.

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