Monday, March 31, 2014


Hugo’s ‘A Sunset’ I like, (translated by Francis Thompson):
I love the evenings, passionless and fair, I love the evens,                                       
Whether old manor-fronts their ray with golden fulgence leavens,                       
In numerous leafage bosomed close;                                                                                 
Whether the mist in reefs of fire extend its reaches sheer,                                         
Or a hundred sunbeams splinter in an azure atmosphere                                        
On cloudy archipelagos. [...]

Here's another poem, "How Butterflies Are Born" translated by A. Lang, which is light and soothing, a reminder of the gentle garden verses of Coleridge and the gentle relaxation of spring. I think there are poems for all moods and times and seasons, and this is one for a sweet moment or Valentine's Day:

("Comme le matin rit sur les roses.")
     {Bk. I. xii.}
     The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
     The tearful roses—lo, the little lovers—
     That kiss the buds and all the flutterings
     In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings
     That go and come, and fly, and peep, and hide
     With muffled music, murmured far and wide!
     Ah, Springtime, when we think of all the lays
     That dreamy lovers send to dreamy Mays,
     Of the proud hearts within a billet bound,
     Of all the soft silk paper that men wound,
     The messages of love that mortals write,
     Filled with intoxication of delight,
     Written in April, and before the Maytime
     Shredded and flown, playthings for the winds' playtime.
     We dream that all white butterflies above,
     Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
     And leave their lady mistress to despair,
     To flirt with flowers, as tender and more fair,
     Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
     Flutter, and float, and change to Butterflies.


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