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This article is taken from PN Review 245, Volume 45 Number 3, January - February 2019.

Weight of Silence (translated by Marilyn Hacker)
translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
Guy Goffette
Song of Life Passing By

They say that life goes by like a
(choose one quickly, close your eyes)
swallow song riverbank or road
where a cyclist rides with astonished breasts

You barely see the candle-wick
diminish and the flame is dead
the goldfish drank the water in
its bowl here’s the end’s end

(no more time to choose) good god
what’s a song you never sang
the road in fact you never took
a life when you chose none of it

and when the cyclist has passed by

Emily Dickinson

She’s homely, the little cook
but she touches the sky
between the bread-board
and the laundry-basket.

Heavy from loving those roses
far beyond rose-bushes
she flies off with the golden dust
on the furniture.

Inside outside soft where hearts
are stony she rains down
and from the piano sleeping under the sea
draws out a thousand thousand butterflies

that keep the night at bay.

The Date

What is it that’s still keeping you here
in the damp air and in the wind
scowling at the lilacs. Is it
the house where in the shadows you  once touched

stone bodies and made tears gush forth?
Or the path through the brambles that your ...

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