Yves Bonnefoy: “Evening Words”

Evening Words

The country of early October
had no fruit
that had not already torn itself apart
upon the grass,
and the birds came with cries of absence
and stones.

These are my evening words to you:

You are cold
as grapes at the end of autumn,
but wine is ever burning
in your soul,

and I find
the only warmth that is real
in words you spoke
a long time ago.

The ship of late October
may come at last.
And then we will mingle
these twin lights of ours,
O brightest vessel
upon the sea.

Clarity of the coming night ahead
Clarity of these words.


The mist that rises
from every living thing.

And you,
the glow of my lamp
in death.

Yves Bonnefoy

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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