What Have You Done With Your Young Life?


Caricature of Rimbaud drawn by Verlaine in 1872

 
 

LE CIEL EST, PAR-DESSUS LE TOIT

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si beau, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu’on voit,
Doucement tinte,
Un oiseau sur l’arbre qu’on voit,
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là,
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

-Qu’as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu’as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse?

 
 

______________________________

 
 

THE SKY-BLUE SMILES ABOVE THE ROOF

The sky-blue smiles above the roof
Its tenderest;
A green tree rears above the roof
Its waving crest.

The church-bell in the windless sky
Peaceably rings,
A skylark soaring in the sky
Endlessly sings.

My God, my God, all life is there,
Simple and sweet;
The soothing bee-hive murmur there
Comes from the street!

What have you done, you standing there
In floods of tears?
Tell me what you have done
With your young life?

Paul Verlaine

 
 
Poem from Sagesse (Wisdom). First published in 1880, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The subject matter of these poems deals with themes relating to maturing.

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