Guillaume Apollinaire: “Twilight”


In the shadow of the dead’s caresses
On a lawn where the daylight hours break,
The little mime-girl slowly undresses
And observes her body in the lake.

Nearby, a trickster of the setting sun
Brags of his impending scheme.
The sky is colorless and strung
With constellations pale as cream.

White-faced, the trickster walks the stages,
Addressing his adoring fans:
Fairies, sorcerers, and mages,
Magicians from the eastern lands.

And in his outstretched arms he brings
A star unhooked from the skyline’s rim.
While all the while, a hanged man rings
A cymbal with his dangling limbs.

A blind man rocks a lovely child.
A herd of deer files by in stages.
And a dwarf looks on with a sullen smile
As the little mime-girl magically ages.

Guillaume Apollinaire

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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