All of them are young, beautiful as well,
though different in the type of beauty.
She is completely in
her closed eyes, and all alone with her soul, at the heart
of the intimate attention.
Your task, the first one, was to awaken the soul asleep in childhood.
First, however, came beauty (shoulders, curves of the body, balance
in eye and smile), then, like so many leaves of a new book, reasons,
unsuspected meanings, opened up.
Muse, this is what I really must call you since I never received
the opportunity to meet you. You've all intervened often, but from
a distance, at the risk of your own skin, and always for too short
a time, in order to guide or shift me. But not a single one of
the hours we lived together was more enduring than it was on paper,
where each was destined to be written once and for all.
I will make no sculpted image of you. I will not lift the veil.
It is important to me that you remain foreign. And that you remain
at large or under ground, the mistresses of what is written.
It is your lot to watch over the world's morning and over its memory
as well, since, with you, something from the beginning persists.
Translated from the French by Dawn Cornelio