Brilliant Sky

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,
and glitters.

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.



~~ Jean Joubert ~~
(Trans. by Denise Levertov,
In The Gift of Tongues
, ed. by Sam Hamill)