Guillaume Apollinaire: “I Had the Courage”

I Had the Courage

I had the courage to look behind me
The dead bodies of my days
Mark my path and I mourn them
Some lie rotting in Italian churches
Some lie rotting in lemon groves
Bearing flower and fruit
The same time each season
Other days they wept before dying in saloons
Beaten to a pulp there by ardent bouquets
Before the eyes of the mulatto girl who invented poetry
— And all at once, electric roses bloom again
In the garden of my memory

Guillaume Apollinaire

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, ©2013

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