Sous la nuit

The absent ones blow greyly and the night is dense. The night’s the colour of the dead man’s eyelids.

All night I’m on the run, I channel the pursuit and flight, I sing a song for my misfortunes, black birds upon black shrouds.

I scream mentally, the demented wind rebuts me, I confine myself, I pull away from the twitching hand, I don’t want to know anything other than this clamor, this howl in the night, this wandering, this not being found.

All night I make the night.

All night you abandon me slowly as water falls slowly. All night I write to find who is looking for me.

Word by word I write the night.

Alejandra Pizarnik

Translation by John Lyons

pizarnikAlejandra Pizarnik (April 29, 1936 – September 25, 1972), an Argentinian poet, greatly respected and supported by such writers as Octavio Paz and Julio Cortázar, had a long and ultimately unsuccessful struggle against depression. The intensity and intimacy of her poetry places her firmly in the tradition of Emily Dickinson, whose verse she greatly admired. In her “Notes for an article”, written in 1964, she states : “Intense need for poetic truth. It demands the freeing of visionary energies while maintaining, simultaneously an extraordinary aplomb in the handling of this energy. I’m not sure if I’m talking about poetic perfection, freedom, love or death.”


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