Blood's risks, its hollows, its flames
Exchanged for the pull of that song
Bone-colored road, bone-colored sky
Through the white days of the storm
Claire Malroux, "Storm"
Translated by Marilyn Hacker
Once out of the grip of desire,
or, if you prefer, its embrace,
free to do nothing more than admire
the sculptural planes of a face
(are you gay, straight or bi, are you queer ?)
you still tell your old chaplet of names
which were numinous once, you replace
them with adjectives : witty, severe,
trilingual ; abstracting blood's claims,
blood's risks, its hollows, its flames.
No craving, no yearning, no doubt,
no repulsion that follows release,
no presence you can't do without,
no absence an hour can't erase :
the conviction no reason could rout
of being essentially wrong
is dispelled. What feels oddly like peace
now fills space you had blathered about
where the nights were too short or too long,
exhanged for the pull of that song.
But peace requires more than one creature
released from the habit of craving
on a planet that's mortgaged its future
to the lot who are plotting and raving.
There are rifts which no surgeon can suture
overhead, in the street, undersea.
The bleak plain from which you are waving,
mapped by no wise, benevolent teacher
is not a delight to the eye :
bone-colored road , bone-colored sky.
You know that the weather has changed,
yet do not know what to expect ,
with relevant figures expunged
and predictions at best incorrect.
Who knows on what line you'll be ranged
and who, in what cause, you will harm ?
What cabal or junta or sect
has doctored the headlines, arranged
for perpetual cries of alarm
through the white days of the storm ?
Published in Bloom and PN Review (U.K.)
Issue 15 or Lodestar Quarterly home page