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Best Famous Yves Bonnefoy Poems

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by Barry Tebb | |

THE DREAMER THE SLEEP

 L’orage qui s’attarde, le lit d?fait 

Yves Bonnefoy

Here am I, lying lacklustre in an unmade bed

A Sunday in December while all Leeds lies in around me 

In the silent streets, frost on roof slates, gas fires

And kettles whistle as I read Bonnefoy on the eternal.
Too tired to fantasize, unsummoned images float by, Feebly I snatch at them to comply with the muse’s dictum: write.
The streets of fifties summers, kali from the corner shop, Sherbet lemons and ice pops, the voice of Margaret at ten, What times will have done to you, what men Used and abused you? Solitary but not alone I read Lacan on desire It is not a day I can visit the ward Overcome by delusion’s shadow.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (04)

 Another time.
It was still night.
Water slid Silently on the black ground, And I knew that my only task would be To remember, and I laughed, I bent down, I took from the mud A pile of branches and leaves, I lifted up the whole dripping mass In arms I held close to my heart.
What to do with this wood where The sound of color rose from so much absence, It hardly mattered, I went in haste, looking for At least some kind of shed, beneath the load Of branches that were full of Rough edges, stabbing pains, points, cries.
And voices that cast shadows on the road, Or called to me, and, my heart beating fast, I turned around to face the empty road.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (01)

 I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
Sea foam splashed against the rock,
Not a single bird, only the wind to open and close the wave,
Everywhere on the horizon the smell of ashes,
As if the hills were hiding a fire
That somewhere else was burning up a universe.
I went onto the veranda, the table was set, The water knocked against the legs of the table, the sideboard.
And yet she had to come in, the faceless one, The one I knew was shaking the door In the hall, near the darkened staircase, but in vain, So high had the water already risen in the room.
I took the handle, it was hard to turn, I could almost hear the noises of the other shore, The laughter of the children playing in the tall grass, The games of the others, always the others, in their joy.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (08)

 I open my eyes, yes, it’s the house where I was born,
Exactly as it was and nothing more.
The same small dining room whose window Gives onto a peach tree that never grows.
A man and a woman are seated At this window, facing one another, They are talking, for once.
And the child Sees them from the end of the garden, watches them, He knows that people can be born from such words.
Behind the parents the room is dark.
The man has just come home from work.
Weariness, The halo that surrounds all he does, The only one given his son to see, Is already removing him from this shore.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

Passer-By These Are Words

 Passer-by, these are words.
But instead of reading I want you to listen: to this frail Voice like that of letters eaten by grass.
Lend an ear, hear first of all the happy bee Foraging in our almost rubbed-out names.
It flits between two sprays of leaves, Carrying the sound of branches that are real To those that filigree the still unseen.
Then know an even fainter sound, and let it be The endless murmuring of all our shades.
Their whisper rises from beneath the stones To fuse into a single heat with that blind Light you are as yet, who can still gaze.
May your listening be good! Silence Is a threshold where a twig breaks in your hand, Imperceptibly, as you attempt to disengage A name upon a stone: And so our absent names untangle your alarms.
And for you who move away, pensively, Here becomes there without ceasing to be.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (06)

 I woke up, but I was travelling,
The train had rolled throughout the night,
It was now going toward huge clouds
That were standing, packed together, down there,
Dawn rent from time to time by forks of lightning.
I watched the advent of the world In the bushes of the embankment; and all at once That other fire below a field Of stones and vines.
The wind, the rain Blew its smoke back against the ground, But a red flame flared up, Taking by the handful the base of the sky.
How long were you burning, wine grower’s fire, Who wanted you there, and for whom on this earth? And then it was day; and the sun Cast its thousand shafts of light On the lace that covered the blue woolen cushions In the compartment where people slept, Their heads still nodding.
I did not sleep, I was still at the age when one is full of hope, I dedicated my words to the low mountains That I could see coming through the windows.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (03)

 I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
It was night, trees were crowding
On all sides around our door,
I was alone on the doorstep in the cold wind,
No, not alone, for two huge beings
Were speaking to each other above me, through me.
One, behind, an old woman, stooped, mean, The other standing upright outside like a lamp, Beautiful, holding the cup that had been offered her, Drinking greedily to calm her thirst.
Did I think to mock her, surely not, Rather I let out a cry of love But with the strangeness of despair, And the poison ran throughout my body, Ceres, mocked, broke the one who loved her.
Thus speaks the life walled up in life today.


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (09)

 And then the day came
When I heard the extraordinary lines in Keats,
The evocation of Ruth “when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn.
” I did not need to search for the meaning Of these words, For it was in me since childhood, I had only to recognize and to love it When it came back from the depths of my life.
What could I take From the evasive maternal presence If not the feeling of exile and tears That clouded that gaze searching to find In things close by the place forever lost?


by Yves Bonnefoy | |

The house where I was born (02)

  I woke up, it was the house where I was born.
It was raining softly in all the rooms, I went from one to another, looking at The water that shone on the mirrors Piled up everywhere, some broken or even Pushed between the furniture and the walls.
It was from these reflections that sometimes a face Would emerge, laughing, of a gentleness That was different from what the world is.
And, with a hesitant hand, I touched in the image The tossled hair of the goddess, Beneath the veil of the water I could see the sad, distracted face of a little girl.
Bewilderment between being and not being, Hand that is reluctant to touch the mist, Then I listened as the laughter faded away In the halls of the empty house.
Here nothing but forever the gift of the dream, The outstretched hand that does not cross The fast flowing water where memories vanish.