Andrée Chedid

Before the rebirth | The harvest field | Song of love present
January 12, 2015 Andrée Chedid

Au grand matin
[extrait de Textes pour la terre aimée, 1955]
Andrée Chedid

––L’oiseau de terre
nous reviendra.


Into the vast morning
[excerpted from Texts for the Beloved Earth, 1955]
translated from the French by Marci Vogel, 2014

––The bird of earth
will return to us.



Avant de renaître


Pas de fleurs ici

Pas de tiges

Pas de barque


L’arbre roux s’effeuille

L’agneau se noie

L’étang m’a volé mon visage


On n’entend que la cigale

Qui veille avec ses ailes.



Before the rebirth


No flowers here

No stems

No small boats


The red tree loses its leaves

The lamb drowns himself

The pond has stolen my face


We hear only the cicada

Who keeps watch with her wings.



La moisson traversée


Garde les yeux ouverts

Sur la moisson traversée


Recule les frontières de ton jardin

Laisse les eaux se perdre

Et les coeurs s’absenter


Si les jours égrènent ce qui sépare

Il te reste ce qui est.



The harvest field


Keep the eyes open

On the harvest crossing


Draw back the frontiers of your garden

Let the waters run to waste

And the hearts absent themselves


If the days reap what separates

It remains to you what is.



Chant de l’amour présent


Chaque image détenait son extrême

Les sentiers se mêlaient en leur nuit


Quand un après-midi qui fait les blés d’aurore

Soudain mon âme fut une pierre lisse ô cher repos


Vois la fontaine répond en métamorphoses

Ton ombre est douce à mes pensées

Vois cette soeur très naturelle

Fleurir en toute chose

Poésie ma rose illimitée


C’était l’après-midi qui fait les mots d’aurore

L’oiseau avait la clef de nos vies.



Song of love present


Every image held its outermost

Paths joined in their night


When one afternoon wheat sheaved from daybreak

Suddenly my soul was a smooth stone oh precious rest


See the fountain answer in changes

Your shadow soft at my thoughts

See that pure sister

Blossom of all things

Poetry my limitless rose


It was the afternoon that made the words dawn

The bird held the key to our lives.



“Au vast matin” appears in Textes pour un poème (1949-1970) and appears here with kind permission by Flammarion.


Remembered in Paris as La dame des deux rives––the woman who came from the banks of two rivers, the Seine and the Nile––Andrée Chedid was born in 1920 Cairo and settled in Paris after World War II. She chose French as the language in which she composed throughout her life, publishing over 20 collections of poetry, along with scores of novels, plays, short stories, essays, and children’s books. Twice awarded the Prix Goncourt, Chedid was appointed a Grand Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2009. Of poetry, Chedid says, it “multiplies our paths, lets us see, breathe, hope. Without turning its back on reality, poetry takes us out of our narrow skin; offers both the deep and the wide.”