Where do words come from?
From what rubbing of sound are they born
on what flint do they light their wicks
what winds brought them into our mouths.
Their past is the ruffling of stifled silences
the trumpeting of molten elements
the grunting of stagnant waters.
they grip each other with a cry
expand into lamentations
become mist on the windows of dead houses
crystallize into chips of grief on dead lips
attach themselves to a fallen star
dig their hole in nothingness
breathe our strayed souls.
Words are rocky tears
the keys to the first doors
they grumble in caverns
lend their ruckus to storms
their silence to bread that’s ovened alive.
(Translated from the French, by Marilyn Hacker)