Le Ruisseau englouti (The Sunken Brook)

by Vincent Lauzon

(English translation, by Vincent Lauzon)

I’ve carried it with me since the first day
That wispy threnody down slumber’s thrum –
It harrows me at night then melts away,
And leaves me panting, throbbing, thickened, numb.

I wait, swallowed, where anchored rests the tower
That sings and oscillates, the while I pray,
(No day, no night down here to mark the hour)
The lower registers, that second day.

The spirit sinks, the copper mouths agape,
The spirit jets, by water and air crowned.
Divine voices, divine in sound and shape,
Divine voices, no sooner born than drowned.

Ribbons of spheres: their music is set free!
I hear it, Lord, the brook under the sea!

Je la porte en mon sein depuis le premier jour,
Mélopée onirique au fond de mon sommeil,
Qui la nuit me taraude et m’échappe à l’éveil,
Me laissant haletant, vibrant, épaissi, gourd.

Et j’attends, avalé, là où s’ancre la tour
Qui chante, oscille, bat, cathédrâle aux oreilles
(Là, ni soir ni matin, ni lune ni soleil)
Les registres profonds de ce deuxième jour.

L’esprit descend vers nous les bouches cuivrées s’ouvrent
L’esprit en jaillissant d’un linceul d’eau se couvre.
Voix divine, elle est née que déjà elle meurt.

Je les vois s’échapper, ces longs rubans de sphères.
Leur musique, O mon Dieu, je l’entends et je pleure.
Je l’entends, O Seigneur, le ruisseau sous la mer !

Composers' Note

"Into the Depths" was inspired by "Le ruisseau englouti" by Vincent Lauzon. We echoed the musical imagery of the poem with sounds only the hydroörganon could make. We also wanted to remain faithful to the sexual, ecstatic nature of the text. In Saito's writings, he encourages the simultaneous performance of spoken word (only if religious in nature) and the music of his most beloved composer, J.S. Bach. This is exactly what we did.


Vincent Lauzon is a dilettante who writes, versifies, translates, and composes. He has been published in French and English, and his first book for young readers, published waaay back in 1987, was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards. He did not win. He lives in Laval.