Prophecy

By Jules Supervielle Jules Supervielle

Translated By Moniza Alvi Read the translator's notes

One day the Earth will be   
just a blind space turning,   
night confused with day.   
Under the vast Andean sky   
there’ll be no more mountains,   
not a rock or ravine.   

Only one balcony will remain   
of all the world’s buildings,   
and of the human mappa mundi,   
limitless sorrow.   
In place of the Atlantic Ocean,   
a little saltiness in the air,   
and a fish, flying and magical   
with no knowledge of the sea.   

In a car of the 1900s (no road   
for its wheels) three girls   
of that time, pressing onwards   
like ghosts in the fog.   
They’ll peer through the door   
thinking they’re nearing Paris   
when the odor of the sky   
grips them by the throat.   

Instead of a forest   
there’ll be one bird singing,   
which nobody will ever place,   
or prefer, or even hear.   
Except for God, who listening out,   
proclaims it a goldfinch.   

Source: Poetry (April 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009

Biography

(1884–1960) was born in Montevideo, studied in France, then lived alternately in a Paris suburb and in Montevideo. He published ten collections of poetry. T.S. Eliot said of him and Saint-John Perse, "There are no two poets of their generations of whose permanence I feel more assured."

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION France

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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