"Phoebus was gone, all gone, his journey over"

By Anonymous Anonymous

Translated By Eavan Boland Read the translator's notes

Phoebus was gone, all gone, his journey over.
His sister was riding high: nothing bridled her.
Her light was falling, shining into woods and rivers.
Wild animals opened their jaws wide, stirred to prey.
But in the human world all was sleep, pause, relaxation, torpor.

One night, in an April which had just gone by,
The likeness of my love stood beside me suddenly.
He called my name so quietly. He touched me gently.
His voice was drowning in tears. It failed completely.
His sighs overwhelmed him. Finally, he could not speak clearly.

I shuddered at his touch. I felt the fear of it.
I trembled as if I knew the true terror of it.
I opened my arms wide and pressed him against my body.
Then I froze: I was ice, all ice. My blood drained into it.
He had fled. Here was my embrace—and there was nothing in it.

Fully awake now, I cried out loudly:
"Where are you fleeing to? Why are you rushing away?
Wait, wait for me. If you want, I can enter there.
Because the truth is, I want to live with you forever."
But soon I regretted it—that I had spoken out this way.

And all the time, the windows of the terrace had been wide open.   
The light of the moon poured down; its beauty, its radiance.
And I grieved and grieved. I grieved for so long.
The tears flowed down my cheeks: tributaries of tears.
It was a whole day before I could stop weeping.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).

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