Marcel Proust: Chopin

Chopin, ocean of sobs and tears, of sighs
Above whose waves of sadness play a swarm
Of never-resting, dancing butterflies!
Dream, love, suffer, cry out, cradle, charm,
Always between attacks of pain you pour
An oblivion as dizzying and sweet
As the butterflies’ caprice from flower to flower;
And so you find your grief and joy complicit:
the whirlwind thirsts for tears, and more, and more.
Soulmate of pale moon and sea, the prince
Of despair or noble lord betrayed, and all
The handsomer for your pallor, still you thrill
To the flood of sun into your sickroom, since
It weeps in smiling and in seeing suffers…
Smile of regret along with hopeful tears!

Mary Jo Salter

Mary Jo Salter

Mary Jo Salter is the author of eight books of poems, mostly recently The Surveyors (Knopf, 2017), and is a co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry.She is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.
Mary Jo Salter

Latest posts by Mary Jo Salter (see all)

Author: Mary Jo Salter

Mary Jo Salter is the author of eight books of poems, mostly recently The Surveyors (Knopf, 2017), and is a co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry. She is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.