Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday Poem

ELEGY WRITTEN IN NOTRE-DAME-DE-GRÂCE PARK 
The park's trees are still green, but fall advances
pushing night ahead of it. You see it
in the faces of people still surprised
to see evening gnaw away at the afternoon.
By six o'clock—no, earlier, and earlier still,
daylight flies off over the rooftops. You say
almost in silence to yourself: "Soon,
we'll be plunged into icy gloom, Adieu,"
and the rest you know by heart. These words
twirl around the alexandrine the way
a tendril climbs a post. They come
in clusters—three, six syllables—blossom
in the rhyme's bouquet of phonemes.
Even if we could, we wouldn't dare
write today in this language of the gods.
The gods have fled into
the foliage overhead, while you
halt in the field, in the middle
of a patch of shadow, stuck there
like a boundary stone, gaping,
struck by the stupor of the elegy. Soon
We'll be treading through wet leaves,
pushing what's left of summer with a boot
in the immense twilight where we'll come to feel
that life is but a matter of a day,
that all things born must perish,
that tasks are all in vain,
that one knows nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
What am I doing in this park,
trotting out these hackneyed tropes?
Fall, evening, the end of all of it....
It's getting late, rain is on the way.
I'll catch cold if I don't go back home.
From Montreal Before Spring by Robert Mélançon (Biblioasis, 2015), translated by Donald McGrath.
(Photo by Stephane Venne)

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