Night, Philip Sorenson

Night, Philip Sorenson

(with Alfred de Musset, “La nuit d’août”)

Now the sun turns like an egg in a pan of boiling wine: a body
bound in rope and dragged by pink-skinned slaves: overleaping
Cancer, the burning axis and the upturned faces of fish. She has
gone, moved to the bottom of the continent.

My happiness has left with her, so on I wait. Nothing seems
alive. Even the cats that for months would rush through the
alleys after mice, vanish and reappear from reeking pails are

Why does August, moaning and pulling, suck at my breath?
Alone, I arrive by taxi and lean my burning head against her
half opened door,
veiled, a leafy shadow, a face.

What are these fingers here?


She is standing under the poplar rows;
her pants are cuffed. She remains.

La nuit d’août
by Alfred de Musset

Depuis que le soleil, dans l’horizon immense,
A franchi le Cancer sur son axe enfl ammé,
Le bonheur m’a quittée, et j’attends en silence
L’heure où m’appellera mon ami bien-aimé.
Hélas ! depuis longtemps sa demeure est déserte ;
Des beaux jours d’autrefois rien n’y semble vivant.
Seule, je viens encor, de mon voile couverte,
Poser mon front brûlant sur sa porte entr’ouverte,
Comme une veuve en pleurs au tombeau d’un enfant.