translated from the French by Kathleen McGookey
Each excavation, a story. The people who once lived there worked, ate, bathed, and slept. In the evening, some of them went out to lie in the grass and look at the clouds that passed. They tore each other to pieces and were reborn.
The sun god set, another sometimes rose and millions of fires lit up around it. Nothing fell. Man thought the world was beautiful and to live in it was worth the sorrow.
Georges Godeau was born in 1921 in Villiers-en-Plaine, France, worked as an engineer, and published sixteen books before his death in 1999. His work won the Prix du Livre in Poitou-Charentes. Though he is widely translated into Russian and Japanese, almost none of his writings have appeared in English.
Kathleen McGookey’s first book of poems, Whatever Shines, is available from White Pine Press. More of her translations of Godeau’s work appear in Chase Park, Connecticut Review, Denver Quarterly, The Interlochen Review, Mid-American Review, Natural Bridge, Rhino, Salt Hill, and Stand. (10/2007)