Philippe Jaccottet: “I Struggle to Sit Up and Look Outside”

I Struggle to Sit Up and Look Outside

I struggle to sit up and look outside.
You could say there are three kinds of light:
Light from the sky, light from above
that flows into me and then quickly fades,
light whose shadow my hand
traces on the page.

Shadows turn to ink.

The sky that flows through me
takes me by surprise.

You’d like to think your torments exist
to better reveal the sky.  But torment
weighs down these fanciful flights, and pity
drowns everything, shining as brightly
as the tears of the night.

Philippe Jaccottet

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Walker Evans
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