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Victor Hugo


Voices. Light on my eyelid. In full cry,

Bell of St Peter’s. Bathers’ merry shouts:

This way! No, that way! Nearer! Further back!

Birds twitter: Jean does too. George calls to her.

Cocks crow, a trowel scrapes a roof; horses

Pass in the lane; a rasping scythe cuts grass.

Impacts, impressions. Roofers overhead.

The harbour’s noises. Hiss of hot machines.

The gusting of a military band.

A hubbub on the quay. French voices. Thanks.

Morning. Goodbye. It must be late, because

My robin redbreast’s come up close, to sing.

The roar of distant hammers at a forge.

Clacking of water. Steamship’s puffing breath.

A fly comes in. Vast wheezing of the sea.


from: How to be a Grandfather



Translation by © Timothy Ades


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