Paul Verlaine:
Born 30 march 1844 Metz, France
Die 8 January 1896 (aged 51)

My familiar Dream (1866)
(Poèmes Saturniens: Mélancholia VI)

I often have this strange, engrossing dream
of an unknown woman, whom I love and who loves me,
and who, each time, is never quite the same
nor completely another, and who loves and understands.

For she understands me; my heart, an open book
to her alone (alas), is no longer a problem,
at least not to her; and when my pale brow is clammy
she alone knows how to refresh it, with her tears.

Is she brunette, blonde or redheaded? I don't know.
Her name? I recall that it's sweet and sonorous
like the names of lovers whom Life sent into exile.

Her gaze is like the gaze of a statue,
and her voice - her distant, calm deep voice -
has the inflection of beloved voices that have fallen silent

Paul Verlaine

Translation from French to English by Peter Low


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