translated from the French by Hoyt Rogers
I walk on in the snow. I’ve closed
My eyes, but the light knows how to breach
My porous lids. And I perceive
That in my words it’s still the snow
That eddies, thickens, shears apart.
Letter we find again and unfold:
And the ink has paled and the bleached-out marks
Betray an awkwardness of mind
Which makes their lucid shadows just a muddle.
And we try to read, we can’t retrieve from memory
Who’s taking such an interest in ourselves—unless
It’s summer again; unless we see the leaves
Behind the snowflakes, and the heat
Rising from the absent ground like mist.
Yves Bonnefoy, one of the greatest living French poets, was born in 1923 and has lived most of his life in Paris. He has been a writer-in-residence at Harvard, London, Princeton, Geneva, Yale, and CUNY. His work has been translated into many languages, and he is also internationally known for his own translations of Shakespeare and Yeats. (1995)
Hoyt Rogers is a free-lance interpreter, poet, novelist, and critic. He is currently completing his study of late-Renaissance verse entitled The Poetic of Inconstancy. In the winter he directs the Centro de Literatura at the Catholic University in Santo Domingo, the oldest institution of higher learning in the Americas. (1995)