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This poem is taken from PN Review 172, Volume 33 Number 2, November - December 2006.

For Claude Estaban translated by Marilyn Hacker Vénus Khoury-Ghata
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker

1

We had shut ourselves out of the air's shapeless space
for a ground eager to fill its hollows with
bones rags barking
We lost that mobility the mountains had so envied
which had made of us objects recognisable by their shape

Equal when tasks were assigned and to avoid any protests
we were bound up in silent firewood-bundles
without knowing to what forest we had once belonged
with no access to our names of trees set above us
Only the walls, which held the standing position, could decipher us

Some invented slopes for themselves though God was linear
and would pace up and down his concave domain weeping
others took the dry rustling of petals for cries

News from the city came to us mangled
to put it back together took a clamour-weaver's dexterity
...


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