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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
Born in Jamaica, West Indies, in 1923, Louis Simpson received the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for At The End Of The Open Road...
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FURTHER READING
Poems About Breakups and Divorce
"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
by Robert Lowell
The Aeneid, Book IV, [So, you traitor]
by Virgil
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
After Love
by Sara Teasdale
Chaos Is the New Calm
by Wyn Cooper
Coming and Going
by Tony Hoagland
Company
by Karen Leona Anderson
Dear Miss Emily
by James Galvin
Donal Óg
by Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory
Family Reunion
by Jeredith Merrin
Footprint on Your Heart
by Gary Lenhart
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Heart's Needle
by W. D. Snodgrass
I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run
by Matthea Harvey
In Praise of Their Divorce
by Tony Hoagland
Man and Wife
by Robert Lowell
Multiple Man: Guest-starring me & you
by Gary Jackson
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop
Pleasure
by Katie Peterson
Provisional
by Catherine Bowman
Remember
by Christina Rossetti
Sita
by Jason Schneiderman
The Gift
by Sara Teasdale
The Primer
by Christina Davis
The Vampire Bride [I am come—I am come!]
by Henry Thomas Liddell
This Was Once a Love Poem
by Jane Hirshfield
To Earthward
by Robert Frost
When We Two Parted
by George Gordon Byron
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Apart (Les Séparés)

 
by Louis Simpson and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Do not write. I am sad, and want my light put out.
Summers in your absence are as dark as a room.
I have closed my arms again. They must do without.
To knock at my heart is like knocking at a tomb.
                Do not write!

Do not write. Let us learn to die, as best we may.
Did I love you? Ask God. Ask yourself. Do you know?
To hear that you love me, when you are far away,
Is like hearing from heaven and never to go.
                Do not write!

Do not write. I fear you. I fear to remember,
For memory holds the voice I have often heard.
To the one who cannot drink, do not show water,
The beloved one's picture in the handwritten word.
                Do not write!

Do not write those gentle words that I dare not see,
It seems that your voice is spreading them on my heart,
Across your smile, on fire, they appear to me,
It seems that a kiss is printing them on my heart.
                Do not write!

Les Séparés

N'écris pas. Je suis triste, et je voudrais m'éteindre.
Les beaux étés sans toi, c'est la nuit sans flambeau.
J'ai refermé mes bras qui ne peuvent t'atteindre,
Et frapper à mon coeur, c'est frapper au tombeau.
                N'écris pas!

N'écris pas. N'apprenons qu'à mourir à nous-mêmes.
Ne demande qu'à Dieu . . . qu'à toi, si je t'aimais!
Au fond de ton absence écouter que tu m'aimes,
C'est entendre le ciel sans y monter jamais.
                N'écris pas!

N'écris pas. Je te crains; j'ai peur de ma mémoire;
Elle a gardé ta voix qui m'appelle souvent.
Ne montre pas l'eau vive à qui ne peut la boire.
Une chère écriture est un portrait vivant.
                N'écris pas!

N'écris pas ces doux mots que je n'ose plus lire:
Il semble que ta voix les répand sur mon coeur;
Que je les vois brûler à travers ton sourire;
Il semble qu'un baiser les empreint sur mon coeur.
                N'écris pas!






Translation from Modern Poets of France: A Bilingual Anthology, edited and translated by Louis Simpson, published by Story Line Press, 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Louis Simpson. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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