tu te moques

You Mock Me

english translation

You Mock Me

original French poem

“Tu te moques, jeune ribaude”

Tous les charbons ardents
Allument là-dedans
Le plus chaud de leur braise ;
Un feu couvert en sort,
Plus fumeux et plus fort
Que l’air d’une fournaise.

J’ai la tête froide et gelée,
D’avoir ma cervelle écoulée
A ce limonier, par l’espace
De quatre ans, sans m’en savoir grâce,
Et lui voulant vaincre le cul,
Moi-même je me suis vaincu.

Ainsi, le fol sapeur
Au fondement trompeur
D’un Boulevard s’arrête,
Quand le faix, tout soudain
Ebranlé de sa main,
Lui écrase la tête.


Heinrich Heine

Heinrich was born in Düsseldorf, Germany in either 1797 or 1799. In 1831 he took exile in France, where he often struggled financially despite irregular patronage from a millionaire uncle. With freedom of speech he developed an international reputation for the lyricism, wordplay, irony, and excoriating satire of his poems, and was called the last of the Romantics. In 1841 he married Crescence Eugénie Mirat (“Mathilde”), who cared for him during eight years of paralysis; he wrote from bed until his death in 1856.


Pierre de Ronsard

Pierre de Ronsard (1524 – 1585) was attached to both the French and Scottish courts in his youth; he was later named royal poet for the House of Valois. He led the group of poets called the Pleiades, who looked to classical poetry for paradigms but wrote in French rather than Latin to encourage the development of French literature. In An Introduction to the French Poets, Geoffrey Brereton writes, “He projected . . . an image of his own century. . . .


Terese Coe

Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in Able Muse, Alaska Quarterly Review, the Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Poetry, Threepenny Review, Agenda, the Moth, New Walk, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, the TLS, the Stinging Fly, and many other publications and anthologies. Her poem “More” was heli-dropped across London in the 2012 London Olympics Rain of Poems, and her latest collection of poems, Shot Silk, was published by Kelsay Books.


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