THE FEMALE BATHER
translation: John Irons
Am I here, bare room, iron bedstead,
window that opens onto nothing & nowhere?
Am I the beast (from your daydream,
nightmare, twilight fear) that dives,
washes a miserable mystery away
at the sight, the chill of the cold blue,
hesitates before diving into a barren pool,
sees the world with that eye,
that dismal, hesitating one?
Am I the one who, in the wall by the bed
in a vague past carved the figure ten,
the hour or number of days past or still to come,
I or someone before & just as isolated:
magic sign, underlying sheet,
obscure symbolism? No, no!
I’ve just been indicated, intimated
by the artist with the fastest
brushstroke in the West.
I am here, bare room, iron bedstead,
window that opens onto nothing & nowhere,
a shadow, a memory of
a woman bathing, the female bather,
dreaming of le grand bleu.
Your vision is your daydream,
nightmare, twilight fear.
but how suspicious, how misleading
the world looks seen with your eye.