Ainsi s’en va la vie

Apollinaire (1880-1918)

Ainsi s’en va la vie

That’s how life goes
Dear Fernand at the Front
We are delighted
And our spirits are sharp.
We shoot into the dark night,
The Boche fire at the day
We live on History
We dream of Love
And when the shell meows
We always laugh louder
All those in my coop
Make fun of death.

Guillaume Apollinaire

(translation by John Lyons)


Ainsi s’en va la vie
Mon Fernand sur le front
On a l’âme ravie
Et l’esprit méme est prompt.
On tire à la nuit noire,
Le Boche tire au jour
Nous vivons de l’Histoire
Nous rêvons de l’Amour
Et quand l’obus miaule
On rit toujours plus fort
Tous ceux de ma piaule
Se moquent de la mort.

To be said before sleeping

To be said before sleeping

Poem of hours
           in which the clocks
call out to each other
           Time has no message
time is the absence
           of message
time is timeless
           it moves in
and out of us
           as temperatures
rise and fall
           and the house
is silent
           and nothing stirs
but for the lovers
           who in the dark night
gently hold each other
           in their eyes
and till dawn breaks
           are never still

John Lyons