Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How soon the night falls

Before the snow came, 
there was this tender rim of cloud 
along the horizon.
Just the other day.

World's End

At the world's end
on worn-out ground
the one talks of the flowers
adorning Argonne china
in their red pigment is mixed
the gold of old Dutch ducats
dissolved in aqua regia.
How soon the night falls
the other answers
time goes so fast
in this empty country.

Jean Follain         (1903-1971)
Translated from the French by W.S. Merwin

Transparency of the World; Jean Follain
selected and translated by W. S. Merwin,
Copper Canyon Press, 2003, page 81.

In this uncertain time, when so many of the things 
I have cared about seem under threat, I find 
that the work of this poet, who lived 
in other uncertain times, 
captures a feeling-tone 
very similar to the one 
I have today.  jhh

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