Expressions of loss by three french poets

Way  (Voie) by Tristan Tzara 1896-1963

What is this road that separates us,
Across which I extend the hand of thought?
A flower is written at the tip of every finger,
And at the end of the road is a flower that walks beside you.

 (Translated by Michael Bendikt)


My forehead against the glass (Le font aux vitres) by Paul Éluard 1895-1952

My forehead against the glass like watchmens grief,
Sky whose night I have surpassed,
Plain so small in my open hand,
In their double horizon, inert, indifferent,
My forehead against the glass like watchmens grief,
I look for you beyond all expectation,
Beyond even myself,
And no longer know, loving you so,
Which of us two is absent.

(translated poem taken from ‘Selected French Poems’, poetsofmodernity website)


Tomorrow, at dawn (Demain, des l’aube) by Victor Hugo 1802-1885

Tomorrow, at dawn,
Tomorrow, at dawn, at the hour when the countryside is white,
I will depart, you see, I know you wait for me.
I will walk by the forest and by the mountain.
I cannot stay far from you any longer,

I will trudge on, my eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Seeing nothing about me, without hearing a sound.
More, unknown, back stooped, hands crossed,
Saddened, and the day will be as night for me.

I will see neither the golden glow of the falling evening,
Nor the distant sails going down toward Harfleur,
And when I arrive, I will place on your tomb,
A bouquet of green holly and flowering heather.

(Much of the translation taken from

Victor Hugo describes his walk to the graveside of his drowned daughter, whose husband drowned also while trying to save her, only seven months after they were married in 1843.


Dedicated to my husband, Jean-Michel Lacroix (15.09.1955-17.10.2016)