William Louis-Dreyfus

July 27, 2018 William Louis-Dreyfus



Why ask to know, twin and neighbor,
if, as it unwinds, the string of our lives
has resolution, lies in a direction,
why today’s ache was once a noon pleasure.

The gods have no plan for us.
We are not seasons and will not be renewed.
Instead, note the pillow bloom of the cherry tree
and recall how winter brought it on.





Felt such fears
that she called out in the night
to strangers in the house:
xxxx“Are you there?”
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“Are you there?”

My mother who forswore Company,
who knew that love was tied to blood
and nothing else,
my mother called out,
choked in fear to be alone.

Even though she knew
that there’s no age to sorrow,
that going from severed to whole
is not the fearsome passage,
and that all particles unify.

It didn’t help her in the end.
She had never surrendered before.




One story is he just walked off the boat
while it was moving? drifting? stopped?
in gulf or coastal waters not yet warm.
The date, I think, was earlier than spring.
No one saw him again.
Did anyone see him go?

He said the sea had a cruel floor
and wrote of voyages circled in light.
Perhaps it was an erroneous report,
and all he did was only disappear.
Who’s left to ask?
Why do I need to know?

William Louis-Dreyfus was born in 1932 in Ville-d’Avray, on the outskirts of Paris, and came to the United States as a child. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University, and his M.A in creative writing from Antioch University McGregor. He led the Louis Dreyfus Group, a privately held, commodities-focused company. From 1998 to 2008, he served as President of the Poetry Society of America. His poems have appeared in The New Criterion, The Hudson Review, and The Southwest Review; his translations from the French have been published in AGNI and Boulevard. Mr. Louis-Dreyfus had a lifelong passion for poetry, art, and social justice. He died at his home in Mount Kisco, New York on September 16, 2016, a few days after completing the manuscript of his full-length collection, “Letters Written and Not Sent.” The book will be published by Red Hen Press in spring 2019.