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The Nights in June

ISSUE:  Fall 2005

Victor Hugo (1802–1885), “Nuits de juin” (1840)

In summer, near the far end of the day,
wildflowers covering the plain spray

—outward and up, into the distances—
an intoxicating light perfume. In a trance,

both eyes closed, your ears just half-alert
to far-off, muffled sounds, you don’t revert

to sleep so much as float in half-transparency.
Stars are more pure, shadows have more intensity,

and high up is a vague and only half-formed
light, which lightly moves and tints the dome

of the enormous and eternal air,
as if the dawn, waiting for her hour

to arrive, and, as always, sweet and white,
were wandering beneath the sky all night.


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