Paul Verlaine: V. (from “Birds in the Night”)

V. (from “Birds in the Night”)

I see you still. I pushed the door ajar.
You lay in bed as one grown weary.
Light little body that love brought far,
You jumped up, naked, joyful, and teary.

Such crazy caresses and kisses all aflame!
I was laughing as sobs welled up in my chest.
Those moments between us will surely remain
some of the saddest, and some of the best.

But I would not want your smile again,
Or have cause to behold your benevolent face,
Or see you at all, whom I now must disdain:
Exquisite snare, nothing but a ghostly trace.

Paul Verlaine

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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