Tuesday, October 13, 2015



PARIS 1957

T H E    C R O S S R O A D S

The rubble is still to come.
The exciting night sky was shining yesterday
On the usual fits of insomnia.
The young man decides to go away
Away from an obscure horoscope
In search of an obscure destiny
In the encouraging silence of the gods.

The intersecting routes the lost maps
The name drowned in foreign languages
His father and mother never knew.
The young man takes his sack and his stick,
Leaves it all to chance, to his good luck,
Spins around, and, far from his flocks
Walks toward his first meeting.

It's a woman and it's a dog
She smiles and she yaps
Singing amid the scattered bones
Something resembling the absurd question
The young man has never asked himself
Which he answers without thinking.
The sky falls like a night on his shoulders
The dog-woman dies inside a long howl.

And when he tries to return, yesterday is tangled.
There is no more tree or star or bed
Or woman or question or horoscope.
The crossroads is only a line without risk.
Nothing moves, a thread stands out, red
Against the sun. The rubble
Starts to smoke as in the past never.


translated by John Ashbery
The Landscapist, selected poems
The Sheep Meadow Press, 2008