Lloyd Schwartz

June 25, 2017 Schwartz Lloyd



In an ancient park, isolated and icy,
Two passing shapes come passing by.

Their lips are slack, their eyes dead,
It takes effort to make out their words.

In the ancient park, isolated, icy,
Two ghosts trying to call back their past.

—Do you ever think about our old ecstasy?
—Why would you want me to remember that?

—Does your heart still beat faster only at my name?
Do you still see my soul in your dreams? —No.

—Oh! Those lovely days of happiness, unspeakable,
When we seemed joined at the mouth! —Possibly.

—The sky, how blue it was, we had such great hopes!
—Hope has flown off, wounded, through black clouds.

Soon they disappeared through the tangled weeds
And only night understood their words.


Translated by Lloyd Schwartz



Paul Verlaine: Colloque sentimental


Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé
Deux formes ont tout à l’heure passé.

Leurs yeux sont morts et leur lèvres sont molles,
Et l’on entend à peine leurs paroles.

Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé
Deux spectres ont évoqué le passé.

—Te souvient-il de notre extase ancienne?
—Pourquoi voulez-vous donc qu’il m’en souvienne?

—Ton cœur bat-il toujours à mon seul nom?
Toujours vois-tu mon âme en rêve? —Non.

—Ah! Les beaux jours de bonheur indicible
Où nous joignions nos bouches ! —C’est possible.

—Qu’il était bleu, le ciel, et grand l’espoir!
—L’espoir a fui, vaincu, vers le ciel noir.

Tels ils marchaient dans les avoines folles,
Et la nuit seule entendit leurs paroles.

Lloyd Schwartz is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the poet laureate of Somerville, Massachusetts, for which he has just been awarded a 2021 Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate fellowship. His poems have been selected for the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry, and The Best of the Best American Poetry. In 2019, he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in poetry. A noted editor of the works of Elizabeth Bishop, he is also the longtime classical music critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and was the classical music editor of The Boston Phoenix, for which he was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. His latest book is Who’s on First? New and Selected Poems (University of Chicago Press).