André du Bouchet

translated by Stephen Romer



                                                    all things seem expectant
the moment we see them.      is it by their self-resemblance
that we know them, as we know ourselves,

                                                                               itself, is

reality – but other, and resembling nothing, which
we desire.                   already, in the recess, it flowers.
in the halo of a flowering flush against, that transpierces all
appearance.                                 almost without emotion.

 the pane.                                                                 the vine
                  along the facade.                                         in
among the branches, the angle of sky            it splits thus, and
flowers, the fatigue, the freshness of the received world.                                                                           

                                                                    it happens

that, attaining the very thing we have desired, it is lost
in infinite difference.                there’s no illusion if the
                                window returning the colour of its
light to the blue we do not see,   is forever confounded
with it.                                                           who, then,
will speak the names of known things?            already,in
                                                               that expectancy,
they have flowered.




Clément Layet's essay regarding this poem can be found here.

ANDRÉ DU BOUCHET was born in Paris on March 7, 1924. During World War II, he and his family were exiled to the United States, where he studied atAmherst and then at Harvard. Upon returning to France in 1948, he became a contributing editor of the French-American literary review Transition, worked as a scholar at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique until 1957, and published poems in numerous journals. His first collection, Air, was published by Aubier in 1951; his second, Dans la chaleur vacante, was published by Mercure de France in 1961. With Gaëtan Picon, Louis-René des Forêts, Yves Bonnefoy and Jaques Dupin, he edited the review L’Éphémère published by Aimé Maeght between 1967 and 1972. He was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Poésie in 1983, for the entirety of his work. He died on April 19, 2001, in Drôme, where he had spent a majority of his time since 1971.

STEPHEN ROMER's recent translations include The Arrière-pays by Yves Bonnefoy (2012) and French Decadent Tales (2013). He is currently co-editing an Yves Bonnefoy Reader. Recently he has written on Apollinaire's War Poetry and on Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts. 

This translation is published with the approval and kind permission of Anne de Staël and the estate of André du Bouchet.