The Three Birds

The iron bird, the bird of steel
who after having lacerated the clouds of morning
would want to puncture the stars
beyond the day,
retreats, as if in remorse,
into an artificial cave.
The corporeal bird, the feathered bird,
who forces a tunnel through the wind
to get to the moon he’s seen in a dream
among the branches
falls with the night
into a labyrinth of leaves.
And the disembodied one—he
who ravishes the custodian of the skull
with a stammering song—
opens those echoing wings
moves to pacify space
never to return except once, as an immortal.


Translated from the French by Vivek Narayanan


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