Vitam Impendere Amori (To Threaten Life for Love) by Guillaume Apollinaire

by Steven McCabe

 Love is dead within your arms

Do you remember his encounter

He’s dead you restore the charms

He returns at your encounter

 Another spring of springs gone past

I think of all its tenderness

Farewell season done at last

You’ll return as tenderly

 In the evening light that’s faded

Where our several loves brush by

Your memory lies enchained

Far from our shades that die

 O hands bound by memory

Burning like a funeral pyre

Where the last black Phoenix

Perfection comes to respire

Link by link the chain wears thin

Deriding us your memory

Flies ah hear it you who rail

I kneel again at your feet

You’ve not surprised my secret yet

Already the cortège moves on

But left to us is the regret

of there being no connivance none

The rose floats at the water’s edge

The maskers have passed by in crowds

It trembles in me like a bell

This heavy secret you ask now

Evening falls and in the garden

Women tell their histories

to Night that not without disdain

spills their dark hair’s mysteries

Little children little children

Your wings have flown away

But you rose that defend yourself

Throw your unrivalled scents away

For now’s the hour of petty theft

Of plumes of flowers and of tresses

Gather the fountain jets so free

Of whom the roses are mistresses

     You descended through the water clear

 I drowned my self so in your glance

The soldier passes she leans down

Turns and breaks away a branch

You float on nocturnal waves

The flame is my own heart reversed

Coloured as that comb’s tortoiseshell

The wave that bathes you mirrors well

O my abandoned youth is dead

Like a garland faded

Here comes the season again

Of suspicion and disdain

The landscape’s formed of canvasses

A false stream of blood flows down

And under the tree the stars glow fresh

The only passer by’s a clown

The glass in the frame has cracked

An air defined uncertainly

Hovers between sound and thought

Between ‘to be’ and memory

O my abandoned youth is dead

Like a garland faded

Here the season comes again

Of suspicion and disdain

Translated by A.S. Kline