Saturday, February 18, 2012

despair is seated on a bench - jacques prévert

Despair Is Seated On A Bench
by Jacques Prévert (tr. Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

In a square on a bench
There's a man who calls you when you pass
He has eyeglasses and old grey clothes
He smokes a little cigarillo
He is seated
And he calls you when you pass
Or simply makes you a sign
Don't look at him
Don't listen to him
Pass by
Make as if you didn't see him
As if you didn't hear him
Pass by hurry past
If you look at him
If you listen to him
He makes you a sign and nothing nobody
Can stop you from going to sit near him
So then he looks at you and smiles
And you suffer atrociously
And the man continues to smile
And you smile the same smile
The more you smile the more you suffer
The more you suffer the more you smile
And you stay there
Seated fixed
Smiling on the bench
Children play near you
Passersby pass
Birds fly off
Leaving one tree for another
And you stay there
On the bench
And you know you know
You never again will play
Like these children
You know you never again will pass
Like these passersby
Never again fly
Leaving one tree for another
Likes these birds.

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