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by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

There's a certain slant of light
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'T is the seal, despair, -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , no title, copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 76

Il y a un certain Angle de lumière
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Il y a un certain Angle de lumière,
Les Après-midi d'Hiver --
Qui oppresse, comme le Poids
D'Airs de Cathédrale --

Blessé par le Ciel, il nous donne --
Nous ne pouvons voir de cicatrice,
Mais une différence interne --
Où les Significations, sont --

Personne de peut lui apprendre -- Rien --
C'est le Sceau du Désespoir --
Une affliction impériale
Envoyée vers nous par l'Air --

Quand il arrive, le Paysage écoute --
Les Ombres -- retiennent leur souffle --
Quand il s'en va, c'est comme la Distance
Dans le regard de la Mort --

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2016 by Guy Laffaille, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2016-11-08
Line count: 16
Word count: 84