Mallarmé's 'Album Leaf'

robert chiniquy


Mallarmé's 'Album Leaf'

Suddenly, and as if in play
Mademoiselle who wished to hear
some of the wood of my array
of varied flutes appear

I feel this trial which took place
in a pictorial vista tended
to have some value when I ended
and looked upon your face

yes this vain breath limited as
it was even in its final state
by my poor crippled fingers has
no power to imitate

your crystalline utterly care-
less childlike laugh that charms the air

From Stéphane Mallarmé, Collected Poems and Other Verse, trans. E.H. and A.M. Blackmore.

I love this trans­la­tion. I can’t tell what’s so spe­cial about it.