Saturday, December 23, 2006

L'Erotique - a collection of French erotic haiku

This collection gathers together haiku in French and offers haiku moments from the whole range of erotic experience, from first attraction to breaking up. All translations here are mine and attempt to stay true to the original whilst also attempting to become successful haiku in English.

There are a number of haiku about seemingly unacknowledged attraction, my favourite of these being the following by Olivier Walter:

nuit de juillet
elle pèle un pêche
coleur de sa peau.

July night -
she peels a peach
the colour of her skin.

There are also haiku about the first stages in the relationship, including this observation of an explosive first kiss (Angela Leuck):

dans son labo
â côté du réacteur haute pression
premier baiser.

in his lab
next to the high pressure reactor -
first kiss

Some of the haiku present everyday sensual experiences, in such a way to magnify their significance (Anne Marie Labelle):

voile brumeaux
de la douche
nos corps confondus

the misty
shower curtain -
our confused bodies.

Several of the haiku offer pictures of human sexual relationships set in the context of the natural world, with sometimes humourous effect (Jessica Tremblay):

dans la forêt
un bruyant orgasme
chevreuil effrayé

in the forest
a noisy orgasm -
frightened stag

and sometimes painting a picture of sex as abstract art (Gilles Ruel):

sur le mur
mon pènis géant
pleine lune

on the wall
my giant penis -
full moon.

For me, the haiku that most truly live up to the title of Erotic are those that really capture the sensuality of the sexual experience (Louise Vachon):

nos essences mêlée
un goût de fruit

Kama Sutra
our essences blend -
taste of fruit

There is a certain admirable honesty about this collection of erotic haiku in its inclusion of haiku about breaking up (Angela Leuck)

tu en as trouvé un autre
les fleurs de l'arbre
tombent si vite.

you have found another -
the flowers of the tree
fall so quickly.

This is a refreshingly varied collection of haiku about sex and sensuality, covering a broad range of human experience in this area. Just as with relationships themselves, there are some haiku that won't work for some readers, and some I suspect don't translate well. So pick and choose the ones that appeal the most and read them - alone or with your lover.


gel said...

I thoroughly enjoyed these. Thank you for posting the translation because I haven't been fluent in French for several years. I adore the delicacy and sensuality of these pieces, not to mention the incredible imagery.

It was recently our wedding anniversary. Although my husband is not a fan of haiku, I shall revisit this space and read these to him. He is a fan of my voice and gestures, alhtough I may not have any energy left once I finish reading all of your blogs! *wink*

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Gel, thanks for all your comments. I lovethese haiku too, i hope that my translations have been able to do justice to the originals. I wouldn't describe myself as anywhere near fluent in French either.... I hope your husband enjoys your reading....

iself said...

voile brumeaux
de la douche
nos corps confondus

How about:

misty envelope
of shower
our fused bodies

(The French words have a nice range of ambiguity; the English translation posted seems to tread the most literal path.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Juliet. Thanks for posting a glimpse into this anthology for those of us who don't read French (I actually read the review first at after being referred by a friend who has a haiku featured). I used a couple of the poems with your translations in my talk on erotic haiku, which I gave in Oct at Haiku Northwest's conference in Seabeck, Washington (hope this was okay).


Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Jacquie, hope the talk went well, thanks for using my translations! (I'd be interested to see a copy of the talk if that were possible!)