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Daniel the Restaurant

Posted by on July 2, 2010

By T.S. Eliot

(A translation from the French)

  • The waiter deliberates about nothing:
  • However chattersome, the dogs may not pinch his epaulets:
  •           “In my country I fear pluvial times,
  •           Of the wind, of the big sun, and of the rain;
  •           They name the day of the lesser wars.” 
  • (Bravo, cows of the neighborhood corner,
  • I am private, my coins, not brave in the soup.)
  •           “The tremulous sails, and the surgeons of the scones—
  •           Are averse to it, and not too bright. 
  • I am seven years old, but she is even smaller. 
  •           She is all muddy, floating like the primitives.”
  • The mustaches of our moment are in the wardrobe of the tent. 
  •           “I chat, for the fair wire. 
  •           I approve an instant of power and of delirium.”
  • Zounds, old lubricated one, at your age. . .
  • “Mister, the fate is dirt. 
  • He is venal, our bicyclist, a gross dog;
  • My poor marmalade, I quit in my nightgown. 
  • It is dominated.” 
  •           Zounds, you are an author!
  • The tent decoheres in the rides of your face;
  • Times, my foursquare, declassify your crane. 
  • By what right do you pay your experiences like me? 
  • Times, there are six pennies, for the bathroom. 
  • Phlebas the Phoenician, hanging fifteen noisome days,
  • The crisis obligated the little smiles of the hookers of Cornouaille,
  • And the profits and the parties, and the stained cargo:
  • A current under the sea imported three lions,
  • The repression of the tapes of the anterior life. 
  • You figure, there’s a sort of parable,
  • Co-dependent, in the jaded man with the high tail. 


(Translator’s note: Although best known for his work in English, his native tongue, Eliot also produced a number of poems in French.  However, after translating his most famous such poem, “Dans le Restaurant,” I have discovered that Eliot’s command of French was, at best, extremely limited; he may not have been able to read, speak, or understand the language at all.)

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