Joan Bodon: Hunting the Chimera (From Occitan)

This poem starts out with what seem to be nationalist clichés, but these are subverted as the text unexpectedly shifts gears into something quite different toward the end. 

Hunting the Chimera
By Joan Bodon
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Oh my war is lost indeed,
My color is a grievous white.
If they take away my land
They'll smear my grief in their delight. 

As I see those northern lice
Glutted with glory all through France
In the great winds of history
What can we say, we Occitans?

To give protection to our language
Of a poor eighty-year-old few...
There is nobody who remembers.
They rob us of our children too. 

Banging heads against a door...
Lunatics in the hospital...
A nice strong rinse, and for a helmet
The holy grail upon your skull....

When you're hunting the Chimera
Nothing beats electroshock
Like the wrong the world has done
I spit blood and fire and rock. 

The Original:

La caça de la Quimèra

Ai perduda la miá guèrra
Blanc de dòl es ma color
Se me ganhan la miá tèrra
Mascaran la miá dolor.

Pesolhs confles de lor glòria
Quand vesi los francimands
Dins lo vent grand de l’istòria
Que direm los Occitans?

Per aparar nòstra lenga
De vielhs de quatre vints ans…
Pas degun que se sovenga
E nos rauban los enfants.

Còps de caps per una pòrta...
Los falords a l’espital....
Una chucada pro fòrta....
Per casco lo Sant Grasal.

La caça de la Quimèra:
Res non val l’electròchòc
Coma lo mal de la tèrra,
Escupissi sang e fuòc…



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