Lloyd Schwartz

SENTIMENTAL CONVERSATION
June 25, 2017 Schwartz Lloyd

SENTIMENTAL CONVERSATION

 

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 and teaches in the MFA Program at UMass Boston. The author of four books of poetry and a chapbook, his poems have been selected for The Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry, and The Best of the Best American Poetry. His publications include the Library of America edition of Elizabeth Bishop, the centennial edition of Bishop’s Prose (FSG), and Music In—and On—the Air, a collection of his music reviews for NPR’s Fresh Air. He was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. He has just been appointed poet laureate of Somerville, MA.