Prendre le large

by Marie Baléo

Richard Misrach, Diving Board, Salton Sea, 1983. © Richard Misrach. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

  • Mar 15, 2024
  • Issue 9

A new poem in our Antiphony series by Marie Baléo, in response to Richard Misrach's 1983 photograph, Diving Board, Salton Sea.

Prendre le large

underfed, broke,

a string of greyhound buses
and tornado warnings,

the unflinching vastness
of a sea flecked with salt.

To be, it seems, always
hesitant, uncertain what to do

with all your newfound

susceptible to a strange
density of thought.

Sensing, all the while,
how desirable it is

to stand on the edge
of an urge to dive in,

headed for some
inevitable place,

the great joy of never quite
Avant de te connaître, je rêvais chaque nuit de l’indescriptible; l’indicible avait des airs d’aurore. Chaque instant passé à gravir l’escalier sombre et lent me revient à présent: je me souviens.

Nous sommes libres. Le soir venu, nous nous déployons sur la mer brûlée, vaisseaux profanes au génie bienheureux. Le vent fait bruisser le long de la côte une mélopée savante.
Marie Baléo translation by Chris Miller:
Every night, before I knew you, a dreaming beyond words; The ineffable in dawn-light clad. Each moment climbing The slow and somber steps I now rehearse in memory!

We are free. When evening comes, our bodies are unfurled On the sun-dark sea, vessels profane and joyously serene. The wind along the shoreline soughs its knowing melody.

Marie Baléo is a French writer, poet and editor. She is a winner of the Poetry Society’s 2020 National Poetry Competition. Her first poetry collection, Submersion (2023) was longlisted for the 2020 PANK Book Prize. Since 2017, she has been an editor of Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature.