Paul StJohn Mackintosh dedicated a sonnet to our artist

Paul StJohn Mackintosh is a Scottish poet, writer of weird and dark fiction and roleplaying games, translator and journalist. Born in 1961, he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, has lived and worked in Asia and Central Europe, and currently divides his time between Geneva and other locations. He is also official clan poet of Clan Mackintosh.

He contacted our association in November 2022 and sent us a commemorative sonnet dedicated to C R Mackintosh, specifying that the association could use it in its publications. We were delighted to receive this gift. An exchange of correspondence ensued and he authorized the association to translate his work. We then agreed on an “official” translation, promising to give the poem its rightful place as a publication on our website.

But before that, we invited him to take part in the festivities to mark the centenary of the arrival of the Mackintoshes in Roussillon (September 13-19, 2023), and read the sonnet himself before an audience. The association was delighted to welcome Paul for two readings: one in Palalda and the other in Port-Vendres as part of a reading of CRM’s letters. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet a friendly and talented writer.

Now it is time to make good on our promise to publish this sonnet and its French translation, which we’ll let you discover below.

How many artists may have caught a ghost

unwittingly, and have been left to ponder

what happened to that figure over yonder

seen at the time, but only known ex post

Ă” Combien d’artistes ont pu, sans le vouloir,

Attraper un fantôme et se sont demandés

Ce qu’il advint de cette silhouette à demi-effacée

Aperçue Ă  l’Ă©poque, plus tard adoubĂ©e par l’histoire ?

 

Charles Rennie, in the place he painted most,

his last resort, far from the demi-monde,

the Hotel du Commerce in Port Vendres

near Collioure on the Vermilion Coast.

Charles Rennie, près de Collioure, sur la côte vermeille,

RĂ©sidait Ă  Port-Vendres, ce port en eau profonde,

A l’HĂ´tel du Commerce et loin du demi-monde.

Dans ce dernier refuge, il peignit des merveilles.

 

Strangely enough, the phantom was his own,

turned upside down, reflected in seawater,

sealing the final ruling without quarter;

Très étrangement, le fantôme était le sien,

Reflété à l’envers dans les eaux de la mer,

Y scellant sans quartier la décision dernière;

 

Long absent from the Glasgow School of Art,

he left as the assignee of his heart

the Palace of the Queens of Aragon.

Si longtemps absent de la Glasgow School of Art,

Il a laissé, comme cessionnaire de son cœur et de son art,

Le Palais des Reines d’Aragon dans leur grandiose Ă©crin.

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