And I would find, on the red of your lips,/ The taste of blond grapes, red roses and wasps.
For Tom's translations of Eluard in Winter 2003
Tom's reviews at bigbridge
Translated by Tom Hibbard
The Church Is Quiet
I was happy and the church was quiet in the sun
near the gardens where under vines are roses
near the road where geese and ducks chat
the beautiful salt-white geese.
Saint-Suzanne is the name of the little village
which is a nice name, like that of an old grandmother.
The inn is full of smoke and thick lenses.
Old woman don't gossip there.
There are, in the sun, paths very hidden
full of cool foliage which have no end.
One might find there long kisses, sweet and hard,
On beautiful, pleasant Sunday afternoons.
I think of all that. Then a sadness
Comes over me from having lost a woman I loved.
I have seen the month of May differently since then,
Because my heart is made for love, love without end.
I believe I am made for a very pure love,
Like the white sunlight that glides over the bottom of the wall.
And I have in my heart pangs of regret like those
When I pass my hand through my hair.
The pure sun, the friendly name of the little village,
The beautiful geese, white as salt,
Blend with my former love, like
The long, hidden paths of Sainte-Suzanne.
The House Would Be Full of Roses
The house would be full of roses and wasps.
In the afternoon, one would hear vespers.
And grapes the color of transparent stone
Would seem to sleep in the sun under slow shadows,
As I would love you. I would give you all my heart
Twenty-four-years-old and my mocking spirit,
My pride and my poetry of white roses,
Even though I did not know you. You do not exist.
I know only that if you would be alive
And if you would come to me at the end of the meadow,
We would kiss and laugh beneath yellow bees,
Near the clear stream, in the shade of the leaves.
One cannot understand the heat of the sun.
You would have the shadow of a hazel tree on your ear.
Then we would tangle our mouths, ceasing to laugh,
To tell of the love that cannot be told.
And I would find, on the red of your lips,
The taste of blond grapes, red roses and wasps.
What The Angels Reaped
The angels are working in the aviary.
Beneath a tree or in the grass is their jug.
It has been said the sky inhales love
Above the fields when they are ploughed.
From time to time an angel comes down
And drinks a swallow of cold water.
Its cheek is like a half of a red
Apple that is the crown of the fruit dish.
It returns to work and takes up its sickle.
Someone then comes and works in the shadows.
Or they all descend together
Or still together return calmly to flight
Each one disappearing, carrying its basket
With tresses shaped like a swarm of bees.
As light blends with light, these travelers
Gather in wheat more innocent than flowers.
They have come to visit in a corner of the earth
The beauty God gives ordinary life.