Lozeau’s Azure

I stare and fill my eyes with your light,
o sky devoid of trace of cloud,
pleasure unutterable, unavowed,
as azure beams converge in my sight.

This blue swells like a river inside,
a freshet rising up to the brim.
Immensity, without boundary or rim,
floods my humble soul, bearing it pride,

opening within, by sheer vibration,
a space made mine through contemplation,
who am a mere atom in vacuous space.

This deep blue, this torrent of eternity,
rolls on and spills into inner infinity,
as, dazzled, I watch myself evanesce.

After Albert Lozeau, «Lumière» Texte français

The bare mention of azure tips us off to what Lozeau (1878-1924) was reading in Montreal in the early years of the twentieth century. Are metaphysical yearning and, it follows, angst restricted in time or place? This is a question the largely bed-ridden poet seemed to be answering just by asking it in Canada. In any event, I have never seen azure more pure than that radiating through a mid-winter high pressure dropped down from Hudson’s Bay and settled onto the St-Lawrence. 

This and another translation of Albert Lozeau initially appeared in earlier versions in the bilingual poetry mag, Ellipse 38 (1987). They could well introduce a sequence of translations of depressive Canadian poets who wrote in French, including Émile Nelligan and Denys St-Garneau. This is a breed with which I felt much affinity in those years. On at least one occasion I partook of this same depressive mode in my poem Québec.

Yes, ye pedants, I know that Lozeau’s humble soul was already proud before it was flooded with immensity. But I have a poetic license.