La banlieue, c’est pareil. L’espace, l’espace tue.
On est debout à l’arrêt du bus. On attend le car. Autour
il y a le ciel et les poteaux télégraphiques. Le ciel est
plein de fils.
Le ciel est immense. Il y a ces fils. On attend le car.
La route est là.
Des immeubles sont contruits au milieu des champs.
Le car s’arrête devant certains immeubles, il ne s’arrête
pas devant d’autres.
Au café, la musique. Ce n’est rien.
On est debout à l’arrêt du bus, on regarde les immeu bles,
On pense aux allées entre les immeubles.
Les allées sont ouvertes.
Translations of this Poem
In the scheme...
Translator: David Kinloch
In the scheme, it’s jist the same. Aw that space, space kills.
Yer staunin at the bus stoap. Waitin fur the bus.
The sky an telegraph polls round aboot. Sky’s
fu o wires.
Sky’s fuckin massive. Aw they wires.
Ye wait fur the bus. Road in front o ye.
Ther are these flats bang in the middle uv the fields.
Bus stoaps in fronty sum flats,
Ther’s sum kinna music cummin oot o Wee Teddy’s. Puir shite.
Yer staunin at the bus stoap, yer lookin at yon
Yer hinkin uv the paths between the flats.
Ye can walk right doon yon paths.
Translator: Donny O’Rourke
The outskirts are the same. Space. Space killed.
You stand at the bus stop. You wait for the coach. Around
you is the sky and the telegraph poles. The sky is
full of wires.
The sky is huge. There are these wires. You wait for the coach.
The road is there.
Some buildings have gone up in the middle of the fields.
The coach stops in front of certain of them,
not in front of others.
In the café, music. It means nothing.
You stand at the bus stop, you look at the tower-
You think of the walkways between the buildings.
The walkways are open.
The housing estate...
Translator: Brian McCabe
The housing estate. A space, a dead space.
You stand at the bus stop. You wait for the bus.
The sky. Telegraph poles. The sky full of wires.
The sky is vast. Full of wires. You wait for the bus.
There is the route to think about.
The buildings are built in the middle of nowhere.
The bus stops in front of some, not others.
In the pub, music. It’s nothing.
You stand at the bus stop. You see
the buildings over the road.
You think about the paths between them.
You can walk down those paths.
Translator: Magi Gibson
The schemes, thuraw the same. Space, space killin ye.
Ye’re staunin at the bus stoap. Waitin furthibus. Aw aroon
thur’s sky an telegraph poles. The sky’s
fu o wires.
The sky’s huge. A’ they wires. Ye’re waitin furthi bus.
The road’s there.
The blocksiflats ur built in the middli the fields.
The bus stoaps at the front o sum flats, disnae stoap
in front o ithers.
In the café, music. Nuhin.
Ye’re staunin at the bus stoap, ye’re lukin at the
flats, ower there.
Ye think o aw they paths atween the flats.
The paths ur open.
About this poem
The Scottish Poetry Library in partnership with the Institut français d’Ecosse invited Jacques Rancourt, director of the annual Festival franco-anglais de poésie and editor of La Traductière, to choose about twenty poems from the last twenty years to be circulated to four Scottish poets, who would then choose twelve poems to translate.
M. Rancourt and Magi Gibson, David Kinloch, Brian McCabe and Donny O’Rourke gathered in the Scottish Poetry Library on 15 December 2002 for a concentrated day of translation, re-working and working on the poems they’d chosen, with advice from M. Rancourt and in discussion with each other. This collegial approach was different from the usual practice of showing work to one or two friends in its intensity of focus and level of exchange.
All the poets responded to Leslie Kaplan’s poem ‘Banlieue’, bringing to bear not only their experience of such places in France but also similar bleak estates in Scotland. The versions in Scots emphasised the range of registers and vocabulary available to Scottish translators – and poets – that weren’t evidently at the disposal of French poets.