“After Three Years,” by Paul Verlaine, translated by Karl Kirchwey

Having pushed open the narrow wobbling gate,

I strolled around in the little garden

Gently illuminated by the morning sun

Spangling each flower with a damp flash of light.

The simple arbor: it’s all still here, nothing’s different,

The madly-growing vines, the chairs of cane…

Always making its silver murmur, the fountain,

And the old aspen its perpetual lament.

Just as before, the roses throb; as before,

the huge proud lilies waver in the air.

I know every lark, coming and going.

I’ve even found the statue of the barbarian prophetess

Still upright down the walk, her plaster spalling

—Slender, amid the mignonette’s insipidities.


More on Verlaine and Kirchwey, here

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