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Yves Bonnefoy Poems

A collection of select Yves Bonnefoy famous poems that were written by Yves Bonnefoy or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More



by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
  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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More



by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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,...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More

by Bonnefoy, Yves
 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...Read More