Poetry at Sangam



LONG RED RAYS by Yves Bonnefoy

(Translated from the French by Beverley Bie Brahic)

Explain to me
What those long red rays are, jostling
On the edge of the sky, swelling
Like another future for the light.
My friend, it’s the bottom
Of the impenetrable indifference of the night.
The painter mounted these blind eyes,
He spurs them towards us. With his whip
He sets their backs on fire. For painting
Is there any other virtue than the truth?
This painter who doesn’t exist yet protects us.
What does he do? He paints a landscape.
Here a little fire, elsewhere night, and for us
This beauty, these hands, outstretched.

Published with the kind permission of Seagull Books. ‘Long Red Rays’: The Present Hour (Beverley Bie Brahic trans.) © Seagull Books, 2013; Original from L’heure présente by Yves Bonnefoy © Mercure de France, 2011; English Translation © Beverley Bie Brahic, 2011