Saturday, March 19, 2011


Lafcadio Hearn, one of the truly exotic lives (27 June 1850-26 Sept 1904) wrote some of his greatest work from years living in New Orleans, and later Japan, where his reputation grew legendary. His many books of supernatural, folk tales and wonder include Glimpses of Unfamiliar (1894), Gleanings in Buddha-fields (1897), Kwaidan (1903)...years later transferred into the classic film.




One day the Earth will be
just a blind space turning,
night confused with day.
Under the vast Andean sky
there'll be no more mountains,
not a rock or ravine.

Only one balcony will remain
of all the world's buildings,
and of the human mappa mundi,
limitless sorrow.
In place of the Atlantic Ocean,
a little saltiness in the air,
and a fish, flying and magical
with no knowledge of the sea.

In a car of the 1900s (no road
for its wheels) three girls
of that time, pressing onwards
like ghosts in the fog.
They'll peer through the door
thinking they're nearing Paris
when the odor of the sky
grips them by the throat.

Instead of a forest
there'll be one bird singing,
which nobody will ever place,
or prefer, or even hear.
Except for God, who listening out,
proclaims it a goldfinch.

translated from the French by Monica Alvi


Jules Supervielle (16 Jan 1884 ~ 17 May 1960) was a French poet and writer born in Uruguay.