I had gone out
To fetch water from the well, by the trees,
And I was in the presence of another sky.
Gone the constellations of a moment ago,
Three-fourths of the firmament was void,
The blackest black held sway there alone,
But to the left, above the horizon,
In among the tops of the oak trees,
Was a cluster of reddish glowing stars
A fire, from which even smoke rose.
I went back inside
And I re-opened the book on the table.
Page after page—
It was just indecipherable signs,
Clumps of senseless forms
Although vaguely recurrent
And underneath, an abyssal white
As if what we call the spirit fell there, soundlessly,
I turned the pages.
Many years earlier,
In a train at daybreak
Between Princeton Junction and Newark,
That is, two chance places for me,
Two arrows fallen in the middle of nowhere,
The travelers were reading, silent
In the snow that swept the grey glass,
In a newspaper open not far from me,
A big photograph of Baudelaire,
A whole page
The way the sky pours itself out at the end of the world
To allow the disorder of words.
I set this dream beside this memory
When I went walking, first of all a whole autumn
In the woods where soon it was snow
That prevailed, in many of those signs
One receives, contradictorily,
From the world devastated by language.
The conflict of two principles was ending,
It seemed to me, two lights mingled,
The lips of the wound were closing.
The white mass of cold fell in flurries
Over the color, but a roof far-off, a board
Painted, remained upright against a gate,
This was color still, and mysterious
Like someone who might come out of the sepulcher and, laugh:
“No, don’t touch me,” he’d tell the world.
I really owe a lot to Hopkins Forest,
I keep it on my horizon, that part of it
Where the visible becomes invisible
In the trembling of the blue distances,
I listen to it, through the noise, and sometimes even,
In summer, scuffing the dead leaves
From other years, bright in the shade
Of oaks too thick among the stones,
I stop, I believe that this ground opens up
To the infinite, that these leaves fall there
Without haste, or maybe rise again, the high, the low
No longer existing, nor the noise, except for the light
Whispering of the flakes which soon
Increase in number, come together, join
—and then I see again the whole other sky,
For a moment I enter the big snow.