I recalled on a recent occasion
A refrain both taunting and smart
If your heart seeks another heart
You yourself your heart is that heart

And I become two
Out of being alone
I would like to live in a city in some nook
I have read in a book
That it's always night in the city
But that only seems to be so
And I want to escape from myself

I want the unknown of the evening land
To be like an eagle that would not have
Looked at the sun
That can only be looked at by eagles
But the dark night maybe the bilious moon
But the evening owls
Screech in the dark
But that only seems to be so
Which is why I am two

Who knows what will be
The great one will always
The vile one will always
Death will always be dying
It's not worth trying
To poke at fate
Though we can and do
Know what will be
It's not worth trying to poke at fate
Better live on and savor the cool of the evenings
Lest we fall asleep dreaming of those without hope

I only had one heart made of flesh
Which I wanted to carry
To wear as a votive
But then silver I saw
Silver under the mournful gaze
Of Our Ladies
And I also saw
Hearts of gold
Next to the Sacred Hearts of marble
The Sacred Hearts of plaster
In the cathedrals
And I was all ashamed
And I hid out of sight my heart of flesh
My living heart
I left the cathedral
Looking with dread
At the hearts of gold or of silver gleaming
Ashamed with my heart
In the soil I hid it
Far from itinerant monks
And from churches
Bring there black iris
Black iris and an armful
Of oleander
Guillaume Apollinaire
from the Early Poems 1896-1910
[Russian translation here]

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translated by Shimon Edelman <se37@cornell.edu>
Last modified on Sun Feb 28 14:56:01 2016