Friday, March 3, 2023

new from above/ground press: Poor Rutebeuf, Translated from the French by William Vallières

Poor Rutebeuf
Translated by William Vallières

In the time of leaves falling,
when there are more leaves falling
    than on the bough,
in a poverty that keeps me cowed,
that comes at me from all around
    like sneaky winter
coldly covering my verse,
my reel starts with a laden purse
    of sad stories.
Poor sense and perspicacity
God gave me, the King of glory,
    and poorer means,
and a cold ass when the winds freeze:
the ice of winds rip through me;
    it is often,
too too often that I feel the wind.
My reels promise to make a mint
    and they do:
I get a pound on the sou
for every misery, a fortune
    of penury.
Poverty is again on me:
its door is wide open wide to me;
    I am the guest
kept at its meagre breast.
In rain wet, in heat, all baked red:
     I go naked! ("Winter Reel")
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
March 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

William Vallières
is a Montreal poet. His work has appeared in The Walrus, Best Canadian Poetry 2019, Grain, periodicities, Event, Plenitude, and other places. His first book of poetry, Versus, is out with Véhicule Press. He’s currently working on a book about the eccentric Québécois inventor—his grandfather—Jean St-Germain.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

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