Anne Hébert: The Piano (From French)

The Piano
By Anne Hébert
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

All it took was one light note
One fingertap
By one calm slave

A single note a supple instant
For the muffled clamor of offense
Tucked at the back of black veins
To rise and burst into the stirless air

The master knowing not what to do
Before such tumult
Commands that the piano be closed

The Original:

Le Piano

Il a suffi d'une note légère
D'un seul doigt frappée
Par un esclave tranquille

Une seule note un instant tenue
Pour que la clameur sourde des outrages
Enfouis au creux des veines noires
Monte et se décharge dans l'air immobile

Le maitre ne sachant que faire
Devant ce tumulte
Ordonne qu'on ferme le piano
A jamais


  1. I'm looking for an English translation of the poem Pluie by Anne Hebert. do you have any suggestions? Thanks. CVZ