Sea Breeze

Alas! the flesh is sad; the books I’ve read already —

O to run away! To flee! I feel with birds their giddy

Flights between unknowns: sea-foams and skies!

And nothing, not old gardens mirrored in bright eyes,

Can now hold back this heart — o sea-drenched nights!

Nor, on this empty paper, lamp-light’s

Desert clarity, whose whiteness keeps it undefiled;

And not a youthful wife who nurses her young child.

I must be off! O vessel, masts a-sway,

For some exotic new reality your anchors weigh!

This ennui, born of cruel hopes and false beliefs,

Has some faith yet in fine goodbyes with handkerchiefs!

But masts, perhaps, the lightning-bolt invite . . .

Are these the kind in hurricanes inclined to split?

Then lost, no masts, no masts nor fertile island-sheltering!

But O my heart! Hear how the sailors sing!

— StéphaneMallarmé

(Translated by Edward Hewett)