San Biagio, at Montepulciano

By Yves Bonnefoy Yves Bonnefoy

Translated By Hoyt Rogers Read the translator's notes

Columns, arches, vaults: how he knew
The ways you promise what you lack;
And that your bodies, like your souls,
Always slip from our grasping hands.

Space is such a lure . . . Swift to disappoint,
As they raise and topple clouds, the sky's
Architects still offer more than ours,
Who only build a scaffolding of dreams.

He dreamed, all the same; but on that day,
He gave a better use to beauty's shapes:
He understood that form means to die.

And this, his final work, is a coin
With both sides bare. He made in stone,
Of this great room, the arrow and the bow.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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April 2008
 Yves  Bonnefoy


Yves Bonnefoy has published seven major collections of verse, several books of tales, numerous studies of literature and art, and an extensive dictionary of mythology. He lives in Paris.

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Poems by Yves Bonnefoy

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design


Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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