Edmond Jabès
translated by Keith Waldrop






French text


No-man's-land, obsessed page.

A dwelling-place is a long insomnia
in the hooded trails of a mine.

My days are days of roots,
love's yoke extolled.

The sky is always to cross and
foreground to be fed with new nights.

I form, in my weeds,
a wedge in the wall's opaque brightness.

The earth is steeped in
empty dreams of travel.



I dismantle a patient
clockwork for oracles.



Dancers who dream yourselves sisters of the dawn,
waltz to the oblivion of miracle, wheeling dresses

The road has no pity for those
who turn off. The miser has no ally.



(But the hour is still co be born, the borderland
hour when the hawk of the sand rules over innumerable
frightened eyes.)



What vow of eternity holds a man
from his work while still awake?



Land beyond night, which the sun wrenches from
meditation, from the thorns of doubt.

Flowers parade their artful candor. The stems
emulate grand adventuresses of space.

Honey flows between stones
which this cement will join.



Around the branches, the world mimes its hunger.
So many cries for a tree, fragrant god to
plant, to bend by a magic round.

They have regimented the
sap. The rings are now worth less.

My secrets are orchards.
There is no trick to the mystery.

My love, a rose in her hair,
message of man and of the earth.