The Child Across the River and another poem

The Child Across the River and another poem

The Child Across the River 

You search for your past
in the nests winter
hangs high up in the poplar trees
eager  to see new shores
birds have left their dreams
inside them as an offering
before wandering the skies
You address the wind
in the retreat of his hovel
at the edge of the night
he chases brambles away
and shakes out his sheets 
in front of the fireplace
where an armful of leaves
sets your dreams afire 

The wind gifts you a bed of mist
and a boat to cross the river
on the other shore childhood
dances in a dress of snow
and sets the table for you
guest of the bees
you meet with the past
in the dried dregs
of a chipped breakfast bowl 

The cracked windowpane
endlessly weaves
a web of frost
forever overtaken
by mocking dawn

Barely time for you
to glimpse the dormice
still fast asleep
after they buried the day
under their shovelfuls of stars

Nothing has changed 
the lame wicker chair
where three tabby cats are dozing
or the round table limping
under its skirt of oilcloth

only maps
don’t know where your house is
you the seafarer
of lost oceans 
under frozen clocks

Travel Items

You unravel the world
in the eddying waters
where distance is inscribed
as the liner moves away
so excessively far 
        up to the Saint-Lawrence river
       but they never told you
where loved faces tumble into the unknown
till when?
        just like  streamers
       she had told you
       they endlessly unwind
       and you are not separated

You gaze at the waves
amid dancing reflections
passers of days
     images slip in 
     from another house
         landscape candles
         black and white photos
         with sharp edges
         that cut  your fingers
   where loved faces tumble into the unknown
   till when ?
          names of countries and cities
         Chapleau, Armstrong or Rainy River
          they are very far
         you don’t know where they are

You go up-stream as the ink flows
letters, words and nouns
through the prism of languages
on the page
a fragile surface where to hold the world
      blue sheets of paper
      the mail takes ages to come
      and every day spent waiting
      wrecks hopes
shapes grow longer
and fill the emptiness

colours suffused with light
or darkened by night

The world has its double
a shore of pages
where to return, to become
the same, or another person
            in summer sometimes
            the scent of a perfume
           «Je reviens», I am back,
           never for very long
along with doorsteps
that separate or bring together
adorn and are alike

You shudder
immersed with trees and landscapes
from the outset
on that dawning sky
where your memory fails you
      she would speak 
      of Guntur and Hyderabad
      words tinkled 
      like her doll dinnerware
      made of copper
shaken with languages and echoes
sometimes dark and strange
so beautiful they make you cry
       Carl Schurz Park
        86th Street 
       the child wants to say écureuil
       finger pointing
       to a branch
       and the East River
       flowing past
       under the winter sky

you breathe in 
nourished by perfumes and colours
shaken by images and voices
fragments of the world inside you
and on dances that dawning sky
where everything began
      on that day
      she spoke 
      a language
      no one understood
      around her
      snatches lost
      but heard

you walk on
in a night
sometimes pierced by lightning
never mind
everything is still there
according to the clouds
and the wind
chasing days away

(From Passeurs de rives, éditions La tête à l’envers, 2015, translated from the French by the author) 

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