This wind is
Wrapping me softly
Like your love.
I live, I die: I burn, I drown,
Amidst the cold, heat strikes me down
Too soft and too hard my life is to me
My great sorrows are mixed with glee.
All at once I laugh and I cry
And I endure great torment in pleasure.
My happiness flees, but lasts forever.
All at once I wilt and I thrive.
Thus inconstant love torments me.
Just as I think my pain has worsened
Without thinking so I am trouble-free.
Then when I believe my joy is certain
With happiness I so craved it fills me,
And sets me back to my first misfortune.
by Louise Labé (1524-1566)
Je vis, je meurs : je me brûle et me noie – I live, I die; I burn, I drown. (Sonnet VIII)
The earth trembled as you passed by,
Turning everything sacred as you walked.
And you set your blue eyes upon me for the first time,
speaking at me with the depth of the night
…like a nightingale who doesn’t need its wings to fly.
What a blessing it is to be worthy of your look.
I have seen rain on the desert,
and all impossible things coming true.
All of my prayers carry your name.
I wish to be pure so that I can desire you.
Take me as you will.
Ancient Egyptian love poem from the Middle Kingtom (1991-1668 BCE)
“It seems that somewhere people are celebrating;
although there are no houses or human beings
I can listen to guitars and other laughters which
are not nearby
Maybe far away, within the ashes of heavens
Andromeda, the Bear, or the Virgin…
I wonder; is loneliness the same, all over the
worlds ? ”
By Odysseas Elytis, Calendar of an invisible April-
1 Castor and Pollux, brothers of Helen, set in the heavens as the constellation of the Twins and supposed to be propitious to mariners.
If I am happy or unhappy I do not give thought to
Except one thing that with pleasure I bring always in my mind
That in the big addition (their addition that I despise)
With so many numbers, I am not there
Among the many entities one. In the total amount
I was not appraised. And this pleasure suffices me.
(Translation : Prosthesis, Kavafis-1877-1923;