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Lovers’ Conversation

ISSUE:  Fall 2005

Paul Verlaine (1844–1896), “Colloque sentimental”

Just now, under branches furred
with ice, two figures passed. Almost nothing stirred.

Their eyes: vacant. Their lips: soft, blurred.
It could hardly be heard,

what they were saying. Old branches furred
with ice in the solitary park, and two spectres

who walked and remembered
the past: “Does anything ever

remind you of how you cared
so much for me?” “That was … what occurred.

Why do you want it remembered?”
“Is my name still bright, endeared

to you? Do you see my soul paired
with yours, in dreams?” “No.” “Ah, those cleared,

happy days when we shared
our kisses! The birds!

And the sky, so blue! Remember?”
“It’s possible … Birds?”

“How big that sky was, and our hopes!” “Absurd.
Hope has long gone, toward

a black sky.” They moved on, slowly. The weird,
bent oat-weeds stirred

just slightly. And their words, murmured:
only the night itself overheard.


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