en écart


New Member
English - American
Hi all,

I need help translating a phrase from the poet Aimé Césaire, from his poem "Phrase."

The original phrase within the prose poem is "la mer en écart vert pâle"

Clayton Eshleman & Annette Smith translated this back in 1983 as "the sea's quartered pale green." (p. 420 of The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry)

I can see the relationship between being quartered and having isolated gaps or sections, but I'm having trouble finding a specific definition for "en écart." Any ideas? Is it indeed "quartered?" Seems more like it would be along the lines of "in isolation." ???

Merci d'avance!
  • petit1

    Senior Member
    français - France
    The meaning may be something like "the sea far away" . (= "à l'écart" as Michelvar said)
    The translation with "quatered" is not very convincing. Then the colour: pale green ..... ( seen from far the sea birds look like droppings which soil thepale green colour of the ocean)


    New Member
    English - American
    Thanks to each of you for your replies. I'm glad I'm not the only person who finds it a challenging phrase to translate, and who disagrees with the use of 'quartered.' :) Good point about the surrealism of the poem, snarkhunter.

    Again, my thanks -
    < Previous | Next >