Alchemy of Sorrow (Alchimie de la douleur)

One might clad you like a bride in white
While another dresses you in mourning, O Nature
Send word to someone you are laid out on a stretcher
Say to another: splendor and light

Hermes, God of conjurers, I enlist
He gives me such gastritis
He’s turned me into Backwards Midas
The saddest possible alchemist

Thanks to him I change gold to lead
And heaven into hell instead
Deep in a shroud of tangled clouds
I find the bones of a friend long-dead

Along celestial riverbeds
I engrave tombs for the departed!

–Translated by Chris Schoen

[View original poem here.]


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