Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Yves Bonnefoy

THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN (01)

I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
Sea foam splashed against the rock,
Not a single bird, only the wind to open and close the wave,
Everywhere on the horizon the smell of ashes,
As if the hills were hiding a fire
That somewhere else was burning up a universe.
I went onto the veranda, the table was set,
The water knocked against the legs of the table, the sideboard.
And yet she had to come in, the faceless one,
The one I knew was shaking the door
In the hall, near the darkened staircase, but in vain,
So high had the water already risen in the room.
I took the handle, it was hard to turn,
I could almost hear the noises of the other shore,
The laughter of the children playing in the tall grass,
The games of the others, always the others, in their joy.

THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN (01)

Je m’éveillai, c’était la maison natale,
L’écume s’abattait sur le rocher,
Pas un oiseau, le vent seul à ouvrir et fermer la vague,
L’odeur de l’horizon de toutes parts,
Cendre, comme si les collines cachaient un feu
Qui ailleurs consumait un univers.
Je passai dans la véranda, la table était mise,
L’eau frappait les pieds de la table, le buffet.
Il fallait qu’elle entrât pourtant, la sans-visage
Que je savais qui secouait la porte
Du couloir, du côté de l’escalier sombre, mais en vain,
Si haute était déjà l’eau dans la salle.
Je tournais la poignée, qui résistait,
J’entendais presque les rumeurs de l’autre rive,
Ces rires des enfants dans l’herbe haute,
Ces jeux des autres, à jamais les autres, dans leur joie.
Close

THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN (01)

I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
Sea foam splashed against the rock,
Not a single bird, only the wind to open and close the wave,
Everywhere on the horizon the smell of ashes,
As if the hills were hiding a fire
That somewhere else was burning up a universe.
I went onto the veranda, the table was set,
The water knocked against the legs of the table, the sideboard.
And yet she had to come in, the faceless one,
The one I knew was shaking the door
In the hall, near the darkened staircase, but in vain,
So high had the water already risen in the room.
I took the handle, it was hard to turn,
I could almost hear the noises of the other shore,
The laughter of the children playing in the tall grass,
The games of the others, always the others, in their joy.

THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN (01)

I woke up, it was the house where I was born,
Sea foam splashed against the rock,
Not a single bird, only the wind to open and close the wave,
Everywhere on the horizon the smell of ashes,
As if the hills were hiding a fire
That somewhere else was burning up a universe.
I went onto the veranda, the table was set,
The water knocked against the legs of the table, the sideboard.
And yet she had to come in, the faceless one,
The one I knew was shaking the door
In the hall, near the darkened staircase, but in vain,
So high had the water already risen in the room.
I took the handle, it was hard to turn,
I could almost hear the noises of the other shore,
The laughter of the children playing in the tall grass,
The games of the others, always the others, in their joy.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère