Never between the branches has the sky
burned with such brilliance, as if
it were offering all of its light to me,
to say—what? what urgent mystery
strains at that transparent mouth?
No leaf, no rustle… It’s in winter,
in cold emptiness and silence, that the air
suddenly arches itself like this into infinity,
This evening, far from here,
a friend is entering his death,
he knows it, he walks
under bare trees alone,
perhaps for the last time. So much love,
so much struggle, spent and worn thin.
But when he looks up, suddenly the sky
is arrayed in this same vertiginous clarity.
About the Author
Jean Joubert was born in 1928 in Châlette-sur-Loing (Loiret), France. He lived in Languedoc for a quarter-century and taught American literature at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier. He published novels and children’s stories as well as poetry. His collection Poems: 1955-1975 (Grasset, 1975) was awarded the prize of the Académie Mallarmé in 1978.
Denise Levertov (1923–1997) was a British-born American poet. She served as a nurse in London during WWII, and eventually moved to the United States after marrying her American husband. There, influenced greatly by Transcendental and Modernist writers, her career took off and she published regularly and to much acclaim for the rest of her life.