L'OMBRE DES ARBRES ... THE TREES' TALL SHADOWS ...
Paul Verlaine trans. John R.G. Turner

L'ombre des arbres dans la rivière embrumée
Meurt comme de la fumée
Tandis qu'en l'air, parmi les ramures réelles,
Se plaignent les tourterelles.

Combien ô voyageur, ce paysage blême
Te mira blême toi-même,
Et que tristes pleuraient dans les hautes feuillées
Tes espérances noyées!

The trees' tall shadows in the pool beneath
Dissipate like breath,
While in the real branches through the rain
The ring doves complain.

How often, traveller, this fading space
Mirrored your drained face,
Or weeping in the leafage have you found
All your high hopes drowned.

This translation was one of a group that was awarded the John Dryden Prize for Literary Translation in 2009.

Trans. copyright © John R.G. Turner 2009


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