Passerby, these are words. But instead of reading I want you to listen: to this frail Voice like that of letters eaten by grass.
Lend an ear, hear first of all the happy bee Foraging in our almost rubbed-out names. It flits between two sprays of leaves, Carrying the sound of branches that are real To those that filigree the unseen gold.
Then know an even fainter sound, and let it be The endless murmuring of all our shades. Their whisper rises from beneath the stones To fuse into a single heat with that blind Light you are as yet, who can still gaze.
Listen simply, if you will. Silence is a threshold Where, unfelt, a twig breaks in your hand As you try to disengage A name upon a stone:
And so our absent names untangle your alarms. And for you who move away, pensively, Here becomes there without ceasing to be.
Yves Bonnefoy – 1923-2016
“Passerby, These are Words” from The Curved Planks by Yves Bonnefoy, tr