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Blue Gold

by Guy Goffette

Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker

No, tears don’t stop flowing
on earth, nor cries resounding.
Hills and walls only protect us
from bodies that come with and come undone

and the wide, peaceful rivers, and thunderclouds
carry grief away. But as soon
as the house is closed up like a handkerchief
on its square of bitterness

how heavy the scalding cup of coffee and the glass
of schnapps suddenly seem !
And so cold, useless and small the hand
which squanders light on your skin

like the sky wasting its blue gold on the sea.


Guy Goffette is the author of six books of poems, the most recent of which, Un manteau de fortune (Gallimard 2001), received the Grand Prix de Poésie de l’Académie Française for that year. He is also the author of Elle, par bonheur et toujours nue, an imaginative essay/memoir about Bonnard, and Verlaine d’ardoise et de pluie, a similarly idiosyncratic book on Verlaine. He received the Grand Prix de Poésie de la Société des Gens de Lettres in 1999 for the totality of his work. Other poems of his, in Marilyn Hacker’s translation, have appeared in The Paris Review, The New England Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, New Letters, Barrow Street, PN Review, and Poetry London (England).

Marilyn Hacker is the author of ten books, including Desesperanto (Norton 2003), Winter Numbers, which received a Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Award of The Nation and the Academy of American Poets in 1995, and Selected Poems, which was awarded the Poets’ Prize in 1996. She Says, a translated collection of Vénus Khoury-Ghata’s poems, in a bilingual edition, was published by Graywolf Press in 2003. She lives in New York and Paris, and teaches at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center. (1/2005)

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