Paul Verlaine

(1844-1896 / France)

Le Rossignol

Like to a swarm of birds, with jarring cries
Descend on me my swarming memories;
Light mid the yellow leaves, that shake and sigh,
Of the bowed alder--that is even I!--
Brooding its shadow in the violet
Unprofitable river of Regret.
They settle screaming--Then the evil sound,
By the moist wind's impatient hushing drowned,
Dies by degrees, till nothing more is heard
Save the lone singing of a single bird,
Save the clear voice--O singer, sweetly done!--
Warbling the praises of the Absent One....
And in the silence of a summer night
Sultry and splendid, by a late moon's light
That sad and sallow peers above the hill,
The humid hushing wind that ranges still
Rocks to a whispered sleepsong languidly
The bird lamenting and the shivering tree.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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