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Opening to the Contemplations:

As I stood one day by the rolling waves I saw
Victor Hugo
translated by gib

four line stanzas thus: 12A/6B/12A/6B

As I stood one day by the rolling waves I saw
Pass, in filling its sails,
A vessel moving fast, envelopped by the wind
And the waves and the stars.

And I heard, inclined against the abyss of the skies
The other abyss touches,
A voice speak in my ear of which my eyes were not
Able to see the mouth:

"O poet you do well, poet of the sad face,
You dream beside the waves,
And from the seas you draw out many things that are
Beneath the waves of the deep!

The sea is the Lord, that, misery or happiness,
Shows and names every fate;
And the wind is the Lord; and the star is the Lord;
And the vessel is man."

Drawn from Contemplations: opening poem - Un jour je vis, debout au bord des flot mouvants
Copyright Geoffrey Barto, 2002

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