For The Moment by Pierre Reverdy
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
I feel good. And happy. The quiet kind of happy. You know this—that which sits beside you, like sadness, and holds your hand. Only this time it is not as dark out as it should be. You both know that there will be bad days, but good days—they’re not impossible.
How have you been? Is it snowing where you are? Are the days longer? Where are you in the world? I feel you here, and then I remember all the space between us.
I’m full of wine, and the stars outside. And laughter, so much laughter. The cores of our lives should always feel like this.
Here is a gift. Merry Christmas.
For The Moment
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Life is simple and gay
The bright sun rings with a quiet sound
The sound of the bells has quieted down
This morning the light hits it all
The footlights of my head are lit again
And the room I live in is finally bright
Just one beam is enough
Just one burst of laughter
My joy that shakes the house
Restrains those wanting to die
By the notes of its song
I sing off-key
Ah it’s funny
My mouth open to every breeze
Spews mad notes everywhere
That emerge I don’t know how
To fly toward other ears
Listen I’m not crazy
I laugh at the bottom of the stairs
Before the wide-open door
In the sunlight scattered
On the wall among green vines
And my arms are held out toward you
It’s today I love you
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This poem appeared in Selected Poems by Pierre Reverdy, translated by Kenneth Rexroth, published by New Directions, 1969. Shared here with profound gratitude. (NOTE: This is the only translation that I am familiar with, although I found in my research that it is also attributed to Ron Padgett (his translation), which appears in The Random House Book of 20th Century French Poetry, edited by Paul Auster, published by Vintage, 1984.)
Read more works by Pierre Reverdy • Find books by this poet • Or view my library
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How interesting this is. I don’t have my Reverdy book with me, but I was able to find that the translator for this poem in my book is O’Hara! He translates the title as “Just for Now.” http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/tributes/Pierre_Reverdy/ Isn’t it interesting how the sensibility of the translator (at least I’m assuming this) affects the approach to translating the poem!
merry christmas, t
Princess of Jireh
Your letters have saved me so many times. It’s a kind of magic how words can knit us together.
I’m happy for the first time in over a year. Even saying the word happy out loud seem unnatural. I’ve lost more than a year of my life to the darker emotions.
The light feels so good, so damn good.
I’d love for you to write back.