After Midnight

Poem By Charles Vildrac

IT is at morning twilight they expire;
Death takes in hand, when midnight sounds,
Millions of bodies in their beds,
And scarcely anybody thinks of it ...

O men and women, you
About to die at break of day,
I see your hands' uneasy multitude,
Which now the blood deserts for ever!

White people in the throes of death,
Wrestling in all the world to-night,
And whom the weeping dawn will silence,
Fearful I hear your gasping breath!

How many of you there are dying!
How can so many other folks be lying
Asleep upon the shore of your death-rattles!

... Here is noise in the house;
I am not the only one who hears you:
Someone has stepped about a room,
Someone has risen to watch over you ...

But no! It is a little song I hear.
If someone stepped about a room,
It was to go and rock a little child,
Who has been born this evening in the house.

translated by Jethro Bithell

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HOPING for nothing, to walk through the streets,
This is a better fate than men believe,
Because you can behold the passing by

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NO water has abiding dwelling-place
Within one feeble hollow of the earth,
Which with the sky is face to face.
Let the noon glow, and the wind blow,

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AT the black foot of trellises, by almond-branches shaded,
At the heart of corbeils, at the breast of bowers,
And all along the loam of avenues,
Are fallen faded,

Commentary

HERE, before me, the lamp, the paper;
And behind me this troubled day
Passed in myself

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IT is an inn there is
At the cross-roads of Chétives-Maisons,
In the land where it is always cold.