Pierre REVERDY translated by Tom HIBBARD


The empty bell

The dead birds

In the house where everything sleeps

Nine hours

The world stands still

It seems someone has died

The trees look as though they are smiling

A drop of water hangs at the end of each leaf

A cloud crosses the night

Outside a door a man sings

The window opens without a sound




The door that won’t open

The faded hand

Beside a broken glass

The lamp smokes

The sparks start fires

The sky is blacker

From the roof

Some animals

Without their shadows

A look

A somber stain

The house where no one comes




All grows quiet

The wind passes singing about it

And the trees shiver

The animals are dead

There is no longer anyone


The stars have stopped shining

The world no longer turns

A head is bowed

Hair sweeps across the night

The last bell that remains standing

Rings midnight




At the end of the corridor doors open

A surprise waits for those who pass

Some friends can be found there

There is a lamp that one does not light

And your unique shining eye

We descend the stairs barefooted

There is a burglar or the last to arrive

That no one waits for any longer

The moon hides itself in a pail of water

An angel on the roof plays with a hoop

The house collapses

In the stream is a flowing song




Someone was still behind there speaking

Men passed two by two

Perhaps it was a prayer

That climbed the heart of everyone

Between walls in the clearing

A voice echoed on the water

The bird took a different route

And woke up in the morning

with a gloomy head

No one knew the number

Of those that passed

Between the wall and the garden

When the night falls and becomes hard

In the distance

You hear the whistle of a train




Because of the water the roof is slippery

Because of the rain everything thaws

The oil of alcohol and my weak light

Have burned down the house

A garden without birds

A garden without noise

You go to gather the black flowers

The leaves are never green

All the thorns are red

And your hands are covered with blood

In the central alley a parade passes

By the window of the dead

Where a candle burns

It brings out a slow song

It was her and the other

The neighbor also

Everyone sings their heads off

And on the stairway where one jokes

Someone falling utters a cry

A dog runs away

One only hears the rain cry




I have lost the secret given me

I no longer know anything

For a moment I believed that that could go

Nothing remains any longer

This is a man without feet who wishes to run

A woman with no head who would like to talk

A child with hardly any eyes only for crying

However I have seen you depart

You were already distant

A trumpet sounded

A mob shouted

And you, you did not turn around

We have a long road to follow, step by step

We will walk it together

I detest your smiling face

The hand that you extend to me

And your sucked in stomach so old

You are just like me

On my return I did not receive anything

No one gives me anything

All is spent

A useless piece of decoration

In the night




The hobo strikes the hard sun with his staff

In this place

In front of the door where a furious dog snarls and


The family favorite sleeps

Behind curtains

The shutters close

The unknown of the road that everyone travels

A threatening cry in the night

All the thieves of dreams slink away

They are scattered among a few books

The roads have become safer

And our faces have taken on a pale tranquility

One no longer fears danger and one knows death

In the sun

We imitate people from hot climates

And forget not to trust nature

And the times shed this too-long peace

That looks like the end of the world

We are all part of the source of civilization

One will understand too late the danger of imitation

The strange combat no longer exists

The principle characters are lost

But the closed house is like ourselves

An intimacy that no one knows

Searches outside curiosity

And our hypocrisy

the fear of each other

The dog guards it


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