The old waters of the canals are mentally feeble,
so mournful, among the dead towns, along the quais
trimmed by trees and gables in rows, which
in this impoverished water barely show,
aged waters lacking fortitude; malingering, deprived
of all impulsion to steel themselves against the breeze
that furrows them with too many ripples…
Oh sad waters that go to weep
beneath the black bridges and are afflicted,
these waters obliged to wear reflections, truly enslaved
are they to what seems to them an unyielding burden.
But so ancient, that on the shimmering surface
they lose what reflects, as they lose a memory
and spin them out in confusions of grey mirages.
waters so grief-stricken, they seem about to give in,
why so naked and already of nothing?
what is their problem,
lost in their slumber and embittered dreams,
are they nothing more than a deceitful frosted mirror
where the moon herself can barely endure?
– Translated from the French by Will Stone