Night unwraps the true stuff of the world:
Poorly clothed houses, shadows in a back street,
Lorries and lime trees on the boulevards-
All sleep under the rain: their black and white
Faces show bewildered discontent. What still holds
Of their comfortable life? Is this new look
Deception or reality? Electric words
Suddenly flash their alphabet. Night
Moves, lit only by itself. And until
The light of early morning, you can
Repeat the letters of the night-time world.
Now a sign flashes in a passing headlight,
Then somebody's whisper, menacing footsteps,
God knows what else - as the black scene shines.
Day clothes this nakedness and
Hides the evidence of it within our flesh.
Language turns into babble, and then,
Sitting on a bench in the boulevard,
You try helpessly to remember what remains
Once night has gone, more than
A worn out negative of how things are
Under the heels of the rain.
Translated by Elaine Feinstein