Eugenio Montale (translated by Jonathan Galassi)

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Surely the cantonal seagulls have waited in vain
for the bread crumbs I tossed
onto your balcony so you’d hear their cries
though you’re shut up in sleep.
Today we both missed our appointment
and our breakfast is going cold among piles
of useless books for me and for you the leavings
of I don’t know what: calendars, cases, phials and creams.
Stupefying your face keeps on persisting
above the morning’s bird-lime ground;
but a life without wings can’t reach it and its suffocated
fire is the glow of my cigarette lighter.

This poem was translated from the original Italian.

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