The Garden of the One

The snail is necessary the bindweed is necessary
The cold leaves and their dew
The walls too placed in the light
And our hands' weaving in the light
Beneath the etched white angle of the almond trees
Where our stalemates sleep a while—all that
Our breathing
Launched into the infinite to drown itself and dissolve us


Here I am. "The moon is my child" (the moon?)
As it was once said
My nocturnal one, so tender in your outbursts
Very gently, my spouse, my daughter
In this bed of broken rocks, knotted muscles
Bed of natural violence and sheets of wind
Crater of woeful stone and conch, daughter
Over whom comes and goes
The shadow of death's unknown raptor


At last here come the clouds
In which the lamp undoes and redoes itself daughter
Already born of tomorrow O red lamp
Sheer height of nocturnal day
On the house of fire of the dream-maddened
Their sheets twisted like nebulae
Their eyes a delegation of birds toward the center


My daughter my dove
To you through you from you the strangling
That lamp of frost
Yourself half-naked beneath the leaf
In this garden of the One
Where your night goes to love your clarity
A thousand times my heart this shines
Unhealable scar which palpitates
To you from you through you the strangling
Beneath so much fallen rain
In that slumber with the sun in which we sleep


From Fièvre et guèrison de l'icône (Paris: Editions UNESCO, 1998). Translation copyright 2008 by Marilyn Hacker. All rights reserved.