Poem, by Paul Verlaine

Paul Verlaine

Above the roof, the sky’s
So blue, so calm!
Above the roof, a tree
Waves its leaves.  

The bell, in the sky we see,
Is softly ringing.
In the tree we see a bird
Singing its sad song.  

My God, my God, life is there,
Simple and tranquil.
This peaceful sound
Comes from the town.  

And you there, what have you done,
With your endless tears,
Tell me, you, what have you done,
With your younger years?

Paul-Marie Verlaine (1844 – 1896) 

Translation by John Lyons

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu’on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l’arbre qu’on voit,
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

– Qu’as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu’as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse ?


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