Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

“‘la vie,’ Edith Piaf sings

By Larissa Miller
Translated from Russian by Richard McKane

“La vie,” Edith Piaf sings,
“La vie, la vie,” seize the moment . . .
And this voice is eternally right
and there’s no threat of it being buried in oblivion.
“La vie,” she sings, where “La”
is the article and the word itself
is so short–the world
has never heard a shorter call.
“La vie,” she sings, and it breaks
into a scream, a throaty scream.
Catch, catch this moment
given to us for something, by someone.
But if it’s given, what for?
We possess it only in dreams,
seize, seize, seize–whom?
The very shortest moment of meeting.
“La vie,” like a twig brushing the face,
or perhaps a razor blade over the veins . . .
Life again is approaching the end
and is completed with a prayer.

English

“La vie,” Edith Piaf sings,
“La vie, la vie,” seize the moment . . .
And this voice is eternally right
and there’s no threat of it being buried in oblivion.
“La vie,” she sings, where “La”
is the article and the word itself
is so short–the world
has never heard a shorter call.
“La vie,” she sings, and it breaks
into a scream, a throaty scream.
Catch, catch this moment
given to us for something, by someone.
But if it’s given, what for?
We possess it only in dreams,
seize, seize, seize–whom?
The very shortest moment of meeting.
“La vie,” like a twig brushing the face,
or perhaps a razor blade over the veins . . .
Life again is approaching the end
and is completed with a prayer.

Read Next

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]