Jun 05

Distances (Jaccottet)

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Distances, by Phillippe Jaccottet (1925-)

Swifts turn in the heights of the air;
higher still turn the invisible stars.
When day withdraws to the ends of the earth
their fires shine on a dark expanse of sand.

We live in a world of motion and distance.
The heart flies from tree to bird,
from bird to distant star,
from star to love; and love grows
in the quiet house, turning and working,
servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.

(Trans. Derek Mahon)

Words That Burn