Lost Wine

One day I tossed into the Ocean
(I don’t recall under what skies)
A kind of offering to the void,
A whole remnant of precious wine…

Who willed your loss, Oh alcohol?
Perhaps the heavens led my hand?
Perhaps my heart’s preoccupation,
Dreaming of blood, spilling wine?

There was a brief effusion of rosy
Smoke, and then the sea became
Transparent, as it was before…

The wine lost… the waves drunk!
I saw extraordinary figures
Leaping across the bitter air…

Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry
30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945

translation via


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