Monday, October 09, 2006

Paul Verlaine
Song of the Ingenues
We are the artless ones,
hair braided, eyes blue,
we who live almost hidden from view
in novels barely read.

We walk, arms interlaced,
and the day’s not so pure
as the depths of our thoughts,
and our dreams are azure.

And we run through the fields
and we laugh and we chatter,
from dawn to evening,
we chase butterflies’ shadows:

and shepherdesses’ bonnets
protect our freshness
and our dresses – so thin –
are of perfect whiteness.

The Don Juans, the Lotharios,
the Knights all eyes,
pay their respects to us,
their ‘alases’ and sighs:

in vain though, their grimaces:
they bruise their noses,
on ironic pleats
of our vanishing dresses:

and our innocence still
mocks the fantasies
of those tilters at windmills
though sometimes we feel

our hearts beat fiercely
with clandestine dreams,
knowing we’ll be the
lovers of libertines.

Paul Verlaine, from 'Poèmes Saturniens', translated by AS Kline