The Lake

The Lake

By Daryl Hine

dans le simple appareil
D’une beauté qu’on vient d’arracher au sommeil.

Smoothed by sleep and ruffled by your dreams

The surface of the little lake

Fed by unconscious tributary streams,

Unbroken by the breezes nightmares make,

Like your face looks fathomless and seems

Bottomless till light or noises wake.

You move and murmur and almost awake.

 

I admire but do not wish to enter,

Like any wanderer beside

Moonlit water in midwinter

Who as a simulacrum for the tide

Casting a pebble into the calm centre

Watches the circles spread from side to side.

I wait for you and morning at your side.

 

Such sources feed the mirror of your mind,

I dare not touch the surface of your sleep.

But to love by ignorance resigned,

Infatuated guardian, I keep

Watch beside a fountain where I find

No image, for images too deep,

Above your breathing regular and deep.


About the author

Daryl Hine was a poet, editor, and translator. He was born in 1936 in British Columbia and grew up in New Westminster. Hine studied Classics and Philosophy at McGill University. He earned his PhD in comparative literature from the University of Chicago.

From 1968 – 1978, Hine was the editor of Poetry.  He was recognized as a skilled translator of Classical writers such as Homer, Hesiod, and Ovid. All of Hine’s own poetry is known for its interest in philosophy, history, art, and literature. It has definite autobiographical aspects.  Hine’s work explored conventional styles, and also delved into new territory.

Hine lived in Illinois with his partner of more than 30 years, Samuel Todes, who taught philosophy at Northwestern University. After Todes’s death in 1994, Hine became increasingly reclusive. Hine died of a blood disorder in 2012, at the age of 76.

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