by Paul Éluard
(from Les Malheurs des Immortels)
translated from the French by Ira Sadoff
By a paper-like coldness, the schoolchildren of emptiness blush
through the windows. A large curtain on the façade fills
itself with little monsters.
The cabinet-maker is exhibited down to the knees. Enclosed in his prototype until summer, he makes his sleeper son with eyes adorned with gold fall very softly. If one puts the detestable army of dead keels on his shoulders, the fish go away to hook their wet beards in the ceiling of the sea.
The slowness of his gestures gives him all the illusions. Stripped of his blue-glass clothing and his unbreakable moustaches, a half-scruple prevents him from sleeping under the snow that is beginning to fall.
Having seen his love from below with the ideal of perspective, he leaves tomorrow.
Paul Éluard needs no introduction from us.
Ira Sadoff’s first book, Settling Down, will be issued by Houghton Mifflin this spring. (Spring 1975)