PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This article is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

from Rue Traversière et autres récits en rêve Translated by Beverley Bie Brahic
Cross Street and Other Dream Tales
Yves Bonnefoy
A Fit of Laughter

It had somehow to do with an old man whose speciality - and why not? - was making wash drawings of laughter.

He is a sage, I was told. For a long time the only thing he's wanted to do is paint, with one broad sweep of his brush - yes, fits of laughter.

On tiptoe, through this gallery at the back of the bamboo garden we approached the door of his cell. Listen, they whispered (someone was laughing and laughing!), listen to the sound of the brush.

The Dawn of Before the Sign

A fragment of statue, back then, in the grass of the yard behind the basilica on Torcello.

It was a large head in grey stone, but so eroded by the centuries that its features had been all but effaced, and one might even wonder if there'd ever been a face there at all. Perhaps this figure was never anything but a vaguely anthropomorphic stone, picked out, brought close to the wall of the great church by a meditative sort of person who liked, during his few seasons, to contemplate in it the smallness of what separates life and things.

A few days after this I was on the other side of the sea, and very early one morning, even before dawn, I step out onto the balcony of my hotel room, which overlooked a little ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image