The Swan (to Victor Hugo)
Andromache, who fed the river with your tears
and saw your widow's grief mirrored in the flood,
It's you this mock-Simois reminds me of
Meandering along the
Just completed square-
Whoa! and my brain reels with memories.
The city that we knew is gone-alas, the plan
Of a town changes faster than the mind of a man!
Here there was a barracks of military men,
There, by those trees, a big-top and some tents,
Puddles where lawns and lawns where puddles, weren't,
All in a likeable crazy-quilt;
And over there-was a zoo:
One morning, as the day came on, I saw
Under a sky dumb and cold-bare-
Blown clean by chastening winds
A swan that, escaping its hut,
Drily padded the crushed stone,
Its gorgeous plumes trailing the ground,
To slip into a waterless rut;
Where, nervously dipping its wings in the dust,
(Recalling some primordial bay?) it
Opened its beak to the sky and brayed
'When will you rain, oh rain! Oh, thunder, when sound! '.
Sometimes, the heavens fatally blue,
I see it again, that fateful swan-
Again, I hear its broken-hearted cry
Sung to an infinitely empty sky.
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