Yves Bonnefoy

Y
Yves Bonnefoy
The Museum
A clamor, in the distance. A crowd running under the rain beating
down, between the canvases the sea wind set clattering.

A man passes crying something. What is he saying? What he
knows! What he has seen! I make out his words. Ah, I almost
understand!

I took refuge in a museum. Outside the great wind mixed with
water reigns alone from now on, shaking the glass panes.

In each painting, I think, it’s as if  God were giving up on finishing
the world.

Translated from the French
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They Spoke to Me
They said to me no, don’t take any, no, don’t touch, that is burning
hot. No, don’t try to touch, to hold, that weighs too much, that
hurts.

They said to me: Read, write. And I tried, I took up a word, but it
struggled, it clucked like a frightened hen, wounded, in a cage of
black straw, spotted with old traces of   blood.

Translated from the French
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San Biagio, at Montepulciano
Columns, arches, vaults: how he knew
The ways you promise what you lack;
And that your bodies, like your souls,
Always slip from our grasping hands.

Space is such a lure . . . Swift to disappoint,
As they raise and topple clouds, the sky's
Architects still offer more than ours,
Who only build a scaffolding of dreams.
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