Saturday, 25 March 2017

The one I saw again - Jean Portante

                    The one I saw again
two days ago kept sewing
the same wound up again:
                    if he still sat facing
the train that passed and passed
again it was not because he
particularly loved the
journey but because of this
window that gave
onto the viaduct:
                    yet the train as it passed
and passed again over the
viaduct before him still reflected
in his eyes:
                    did he know this as he kept sewing
the same wound again & again:
and what did he know of immobility:
                    and the one sitting across from
him on the train that passed
and passed again over the viaduct
was he jealous that across
from him the other thus
sat at his window giving
on this viaduct without
particularly loving
the journey:
                    and isn’t it exactly because
of this that the train passed
and passed again as if
instead of carrying its
passengers towards a specific
destination its only mission
was to agree with this
statistic that states that of
two men sitting one at
least will ceaselessly be sewing
up the same wound.

                    The one I saw again
previously held at the end 
of a long string a distant
kite that his hand reeled
in and reeled out:
                    the clouds were close by
and the migratory birds that
were returning from afar
were also tethered to a string:
just like the clouds
by the way and even the sun
when it hid:
                    and if you looked carefully you
saw that there was also
a string from one language to
the other or from the apple tree
to the olive tree and our gazes
remember were linked
one to the other by two
strings on which wept like
clothes hung out to dry
or rain that falls and wets
the pro and con
of love:
                    the kite also wept
on its flight:
                    you could have thought the entire
universe was repenting:
                    the strings of course were
invisible to the naked love
but when the storm
broke and the flash of
lightening photographed the
landscape didn’t you see
as if you were all
these hands that reeled in and
reeled out all remorse.

                    The one I saw again
more than a week ago
like a dead man hugged
the walls of the city:
                    you’d have thought he was
sorting the mirrors
from the shadows:
there were graffiti
behind him on the walls
he was hugging but he
didn’t read them:
                    everything he did or
didn’t do was
carefully sorted:
                    I confess that I didn’t
read what the walls
said either and when
I said that I saw him again
more than a week ago the one
who like a dead man hugged
the walls of the city maybe
I was a little too forward:
                    it was pitch black already
and a street light of uncertain
origin was projecting
shadows on the walls:
                    what I saw was that
some were missing
others not as if light
had its preferences:
                    so then I started to count
these shadows thus sorted
on the walls of the city
and coming to mine with
a step darker than usual
I like someone who knows
but doesn’t say anything
to anyone thought back on
this story of a kite that
doesn’t fly which
I often tell and on these chance
occurrences that sort so well
the secret from death
but I told no one about it.

Jean Portante (born 1950) Luxembourg
Translated by Pierre Joris
Source: Numéro Cinq

1 comment:

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.