Posts by Jeremy Page

Translation Tuesday: Poems by Boris Vian

Translated by Jeremy Page


To Odette Bost


Into the houses where children die

Go some very old people.

They sit down in the antechamber

Their sticks between their black knees.

They listen, nod their heads.


Every time the child coughs

Their hands clutch their hearts

And make big yellow spiders

And the cough, rising through the furnishings,

Is shredded, listless as a pale butterfly.


They have vague smiles

And the child’s cough stops

And the big yellow spiders

Rest, shaking,

On the polished boxwood handles

Of the sticks, between their hard knees.


And then, when the child is dead

They get up, and go elsewhere…