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Philippe Jaccottet: a poem

All the wheat is ablaze

and the brief skylark

a fragment rising from the fire.

It scales all the levels of the air

only because the ground is burning hot.

There's a beauty that the eyes and hands touch

and that makes the heart take a first step in song.

But the other one steals away and we must climb higher

until we can't see anything any more,

the beautiful target and the tenacious hunter

blended in the jubilant light.

Philippe Jaccottet was a Swiss Francophone poet and translator. This poem is from "La Clarté Notre-Dame" and "The Last Book of the Madrigals", translated by John Taylor.

Apart from Trás-os-Montes (The MadHat Press) John Taylor has also recently translated Franca Mancinelli’s The Butterfly Cemetery: Selected Prose 2008-2021 (The Bitter Oleander Press) – of which three pieces originally appeared in One Hand Clapping. His most recent book of poems is Transizioni, a bilingual volume published in Italy by LYRIKS Editore and illustrated by the Greek artist Alekos Fassianos.

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