Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

Best Famous Yves Bonnefoy Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Yves Bonnefoy poems. This is a select list of the best famous Yves Bonnefoy poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Yves Bonnefoy poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Yves Bonnefoy poems.

Search for the best famous Yves Bonnefoy poems, articles about Yves Bonnefoy poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Yves Bonnefoy poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back




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 (05)

 In the same dream
I am lying in the hollow of a boat,
My forehead and eyes against the curved planks
Where I can hear the undercurrents
Striking the bottom of the boat.
All at once, the prow rises up,
And I think that we’ve come to the estuary,
But I keep my eyes against the wood
That smells of tar and glue.
Too vast, too luminous the images
That I have gathered in my sleep.
Why rediscover, outside,
The things that words tell me of,
But without convincing me,
I desire a higher or less somber shore.

And yet I give up this ground that stirs
Beneath the body waking to itself, I get up,
I go from room to room in the house,
They are endless now,
I can hear the cries of voices behind doors,
I am seized by these sorrows that knock
Against the ruined casings, I hurry on,
The lingering night is too heavy for me,
Frightened, I go into a room cluttered with desks,
Look, I’m told, this was your classroom,
See on the walls the first images you looked at,
Look, the tree, look, there, the yelping dog,
And the geography map on the yellow wall,
This fading of names and forms,
This effacing of mountains and rivers
By the whiteness that freezes language.
Look, this was your only book. The Isis of the plaster
On the wall of this room, which is pealing away,
Never had, nor ever will have anything other
To open for you, to close on you.


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 (07)

 I remember, it was a morning, in summer,
The window was half-open, I drew near,
I could see my father at the end of the garden.
He was motionless, looking for something,
I could not tell what, or where, beyond the world,
His body was already bent over, but his gaze
Was lifted toward the unaccomplished or the impossible.
He had put aside his pick and his spade,
The air was fresh on that morning of the world,
But even freshness can be impenetrable, and cruel
The memory of the mornings of childhood.
Who was he, who had he been in the light,
I did not know, I still do not.

But I also see him on the boulevard,
Walking slowly, so much weariness
Weighing down the way he now moved,
He was going back to work, while I
Was wandering about with some of my classmates
At the beginning of an afternoon still free from time.
To this figure, seen from afar, moving on its way,
I dedicate the words that cannot say what they would.

(In the dining room
Of the Sunday afternoon, in summer,
The shutters closed against the heat,
The table cleared, he suggested
Cards, since these are the only pictures
In the childhood house to satisfy
The needs of dream, but he leaves,
And when he does, the child clumsily takes the cards,
He puts the winning ones in the other’s hand,
Then waits feverishly for the game to begin again,
And for the one who was losing to win, and so triumphantly
That he might see in this victory a sign, something
To nourish some hope the child cannot know.
After this, two paths part, and one of them
Vanishes, and almost immediately, forgetfulness
Sets in, avid, relentless.

I have crossed out
These words a hundred times, in verse, in prose,
But I cannot
Stop them from coming back.)


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 (10)

 And then life; and once again
A house where I was born. Around us
The granary above what once had been a church,
The gentle play of shadow from the dawn clouds,
And in us that smell of the dry straw
That had seemed to be waiting for us
From the moment the last sack, of wheat or rye,
Had been brought in so long ago,
In the eternity of former summers
Whose light was filtered through the warm tiles.
I could sense that day was about to break,
I was waking, and now I turn once more
Toward the one who dreamed beside me
In the lonely house. To her silence
I dedicate, at night,
The words that only seem to be speaking of something else.

(I was waking,
I loved those days we had, days preserved
The way a river flows slowly, though already
Caught in the vaulting rumbling of the sea.
They were passing through us, with the majesty of simple things,
The mighty sails of what is were kind enough to take
Precarious human life on board the ship
That the mountain spread out around us.
O memory,
They covered with the flapping of their silence
The sound, of water on the stones, of our voices,
And up ahead, there might well be death,
But with that milky color you find at the end of beaches
In the evening, when far off
The children still touch bottom, and laugh in the peaceful water,
And keep on playing.)


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?