Yves Bonnefoy: “The House Where I was Born: 1”

The House Where I was Born: 1

I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
Sea foam crashed against the rocks,
No bird in sight, just wind to open and close the waves,
The smell of the horizon was everywhere,
And ash, as if the hills hid a fire
That somewhere else consumed a universe.
I went out onto the veranda, the table was set,
The water struck the legs of the table, the sideboard.
And even so, she had to enter, the faceless one,
The one I knew was shaking the door
In the hallway, by the dark staircase, but in vain,
For the water had already risen in the room.
I tried the handle, but it wouldn’t turn,
I could almost hear voices from the opposite shore,
The laughter of children in the tall, tall grass,
The games of others, always others, in their joy.

Yves Bonnefoy

Translated from French by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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