To live as in exile, to live seeing no one
in the vast desert of a town that is dying,
where one hears nothing but the vague murmur
of an organ sobbing, or the belfry tolling.

To feel oneself remote from souls, from minds,
from all that bears a diadem on its brow;
and without shedding light consume oneself
like a futile lamp in the depths
of dark burial vaults.

To be like a vessel that dreamed of voyage,
triumphal, cheerful, off the red equator
which runs into ice flows of coldness
and feels itself wrecked without leaving a wake.

Oh to live this way! All alone… to witness
the wilting of the divine soul’s white flowering,
in contempt of all and without prediction,
alone, alone, always alone, observing
one’s own extinction.

– Translated from the French by Will Stone