'Clair de Lune' by Jules Laforgue. I forget who translated it. I don't understand the French that Laforgue originally used. My translation is not quite the original one.


O Moon, to be lost with you in midnight sky
drinking your font of holy water dry!

That I cannot lie on your astral body
afflicts me like kicks in the appendix.

O moon, I am all yours when you add light
to warmth of an enchanting autumn night,

or through ragged clouds as the wild wind raves,
gleam on stormy seas and ship-wrecking waves.

Blind asteroid, too cold to melt the wings
of we who fall exhausted from your height!

Pale night skull, balder than a bureaucrat!
Pill, waking no one from lethargic state!

Huntress Diana, give from Cupid’s quiver
an arrow, a lead-pointed, to wield like

hypodermic needle and inoculate
my heart against what makes me so unfit:

life. Tonight I wash my hands of it.

uncollected, first published The Dark Horse , 20th Anniversary issue, 2015, © Alasdair Gray 2015, used by permission of the author

Alasdair Gray in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.