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from “The Window of Time”

IV.

You dream of cities not eroded
by time, of forests
that form immense paths,

you dream, and on the sea
the masts of ships
gnaw away at white stones,
the swell chafes the shore,

you dream, but dawn still takes a long time
to blow upon the ruins,
shadows crash
against the flesh of houses,
rattle the fragile frames
of windows through which you see
a bit of hope, you believe,

as slowly as a poem is constructed
inside yourself,
you gather these places one by one,
these faces, you touch love,
everything that can still be true
and beautiful, like a promise.

The Earth, scarcely visible
—have we forgotten it—
through the window of time,

can it still remind you
that you are never
above this world
that now advances
with its irreparable
breaks—you will never exist
beyond the waves that erase
human steps, and you would like,
in this moment when the Earth turns over,
to hear a diagonal wind blow,
touch the tip of your soul
the fragile skin of time, to see,
to see finally the shadows we carry open,
and like a heart, and like a face,
the world rest in the palm of dawn.

From “La fenêtre de temps.” Copyright Hélène Dorion. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Jonathan Kaplansky. All rights reserved.