May | Guillaume Apollinaire (1913)

Maurice de Vlaminck ,Sailboats at Chatou, 1905


In May lovely May on a boat on the Rhine
There were ladies looking from high on the mountain
You are so very pretty but the boat glides past
But who has made the willows weep on the river bank

Now the flowering orchards stood frozen astern
The petals fallen from the cherry trees in May
Are the fingernails of her whom I loved so much
And the faded petals are like her eyelids

Along the road on the river bank slowly
A bear a monkey and a dog led by gipsies
Followed a caravan pulled by a donkey
While amongst the vineyards of the Rhine valley
A regimental tune on a fife passed away

May lovely May has garlanded the ruins
With ivy Virginia creeper and wild rose
The wind of the Rhine stirs the willows on the bank
And the whispering rushes and the naked vine flowers

Guillaume Apollinaire / Translation:  Oliver Bernard
Maurice de Vlaminck, Boats on the Seine at Chatou, 1906


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