J – 55: Une amie m’offre un recueil de poèmes de Charles Reznikoff, poète américain dont j’ignorais tout et qui, pour ce qui se trouve dans ce recueil, a collecté de nombreuses minutes de toutes sortes de petits procès, et opérant de très savants collages a écrit des poèmes remarquables à la fois de musicalité mais aussi de peinture d’un réel à la fois sombre et de petites choses.
Désolé de ne pas être traducteur, un métier, un métier que je ne pourrais jamais exercer, pas plus, finalement que celui de berger de chèvres en Ardèche, même limites évidentes de manque de compétence, aussi le poème qui suit est dans sa langue maternelle. Et un livre de poèmes que je puisse poser en cavalier sur ma table de chevet, finalement c’est un peu ce qui manquait à mon bonheur ces derniers temps. Une lecture du soir et des violettes.
Adams and his wife, Hester, and their three small children
were living on a farm about a mile from the James River.
Abingdon was the renter of the farm;
but he was a trapper—
had a number of traps along both sides of the river—
and had hired Adams and Casper Dill
to do the farm work for a share of the crops.
Abingdon was unmarried and lived in a room of the house
where Adams and his wife lived;
Dill lived with his old crippled mother—
who could not get about—
in a small house nearby.
One evening, Abingdon said he was planning a trip across the river
to “take” a bee tree.
They were in the house of Mrs. Dill,
the four of them, Abingdon, Adams, and the Dills;
Adams was unwilling to go with Abingdon
unless young Dill went along.
Both Adams and Dill said they could not swim—
everybody in the neighborhood knew that—
and Dill said he did not like water more than knee-deep,
and Adams nodded agreement.
Dill added he would rather plow than go,
but his mother said that since Mr. Abingdon was anxious for him to
come he had better do so.
The three men started in the morning
with everything needed: two large buckets for the honey,
two axes and a hatchet,
and a piece of netting to protect them from the bees.
The boat did not belong to Abingdon
but he had a key to unlock the boat from its fastening
to the bank. It was a small boat,
about ten feet long and two and a half feet wide;
Abingdon sat in the rear
with his face to the front; and Adams and Dill sat in front of him,
their faces also to the front and their backs to Abingdon.
They landed on the other side of the river
and went to the bee tree;
but when they reached it, Abingdon, so he said,
decided not to cut it down
because it was a large tree
and the hole small,
and the tree might not have any honey in it, after all.
On the way back, about fifty yards from the shore,
the boat suddenly filled with water,
and both Adams and young Dill were drowned.
When the boat was gotten out of the water,
three holes, freshly bored, each about an inch and a half in width, were found under the seat where Abingdon had been sitting; and fresh shavings, suiting the size of the holes and of the same
wood the boat was made of, had been thrown into the water where the boat had been fastened but the shavings had drifted ashore.
Here, too, were found corncobs cut to fit the holes in the boat. The morning after the drownings, when they came to arrest
Abingdon, he was found in Hester Adams’ room—and bed.