Poem: Jean Joubert’s “April Again” (trans. Levertov)

  May 25th, 2013

   
“APRIL AGAIN”
  Jean Joubert

   

April again, its
frail flames,
nightingales, lilac.

Hail, Sun, behold
our festal garments,
the fire of our words.

At the crest of day
we could almost
seem purely blithe.

But at our earth’s
darkest, most secret
place there is
an emptiness nothing can fill.

  [translated from the French by Denise Levertov] 

   

   

   

—*—-*—-*—-*—-*—-*—-*—-*—-*

   

A new poet to me. I love this poem! The incredible evanescence of all seasons. The death of them already implicit in their beginnings, even as life begins to adjust to their claim, either in flushing dance or huddling shiver. Stink of rot as soon as the new blossom or fruit starts to bud. Stirrings of new shoot even as first snow blankets. Everything is already always turning. And Spring, the great joyous awakening passage of the year: a shaky blush, it’s all bravado. The globe always lusts for renewal, for destruction. Hard to be at peace enough to celebrate when always careening from death to rebirth. Seesawing an egg and hoping it’ll come to rest in the center. Just to know beautiful things when they are simply being still. By some spiritual traditions, part of suffering is not accepting these vicissitudes. And so we suffer. If we are unfortunate enough to just want to stand still and take a deep breath and keep things still for a bit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For more about Joubert, and more examples of his work, please direct yrselves over to Narrative Magazine
as well as the Poetry Foundation.
 
 

[posted by C Way at 1:28 AM]

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