POETRY

Eastern Day

By

Translated from Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

It was a day like this one, just as bright,
which set this love, with all to lose, alight.

It was a day of perfect charity,
in whose blue breezes strolls eternity,
where, freed from the stifling loads it has to bear,
the earth can play, a child without a care.
It was like a mother's kiss in every place,
a long dream straying as time draws on apace,
an hour of birds, of perfumes, and of sun,
of utter forgetting, well-being bettered by none.

There were two of us. It's too much for one in love
to preserve oneself. Alas, that we were two!
Not one lone witness who had to think of himself.
We needed one so much—more than I knew
in all the world. Too close to my soul he came,
his soul's perfection dazzling my eyes.
I was struck blind by his own pair, aflame,
and saw too much when I looked back at the skies.

I was too dumb to recognize the threat.
I stay alive in order to forget.

It was a day like this one, just as bright,
which set this love, with all to lose, alight.



Jour d'Orient

Ce fut un jour pareil à ce beau jour
Que, pour tout perdre, incendiait l'amour!

C'était un jour de charité divine
Où dans l'air bleu l'éternité chemine;
Où dérobée à son poids étouffant
La terre joue et redevient enfant;
C'était partout comme un baiser de mère,
Long rêve errant dans une heure éphémère;
Heure d'oiseaux, de parfums, de soleil,
D'oubli de tout... hors du bien sans pareil.

Nous étions deux!... C'est trop d'un quand on aime
Pour se garder... Hélas ! nous étions deux.
Pas un témoin qui sauve de soi-même!
Jamais au monde on n'eut plus besoin d'eux
Que nous l'avions! Lui, trop près de mon âme,
Avec son âme éblouissait mes yeux;
J'étais aveugle à cette double flamme,
Et j'y vis trop quand je revis les cieux.

Pour me sauver, j'étais trop peu savante;
Pour l'oublier... je suis encor vivante!

C'était un jour pareil à ce beau jour
Que, pour tout perdre, incendiait l'amour!

Anna M. Evans’ poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of a 2011 Fellowship from the MacDowell Artists' Colony, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of NJ. Her chapbooks Swimming and Selected Sonnets are available from Maverick Duck Press. Her poem, Straight Talk," appearing in Kin is from a chapbook, Saint-Pol-Roux & Other Poems from the French.

It was a day like this one, just as bright,
which set this love, with all to lose, alight.

It was a day of perfect charity,
in whose blue breezes strolls eternity,
where, freed from the stifling loads it has to bear,
the earth can play, a child without a care.