Pour le retour du Soleil honorer, 
                                                                                                           Le Zéphir l'air serein lui appareille

                                                                                                                         - Louise Labé, sonnet 15  

To honour the returning sun,

a zephyr stirs the tranquil night.

It speaks to sleepy birds of flight.

and ripples reeds as rivers run 

through grassy banks where flowers wait,

and birds begin to trill and coo,

charming yawning people who

are working early or up late. 

It wakes the waters and the land  

and from the window where I stand

to watch the paths which come this way,  

I hear the markets and the quay.

Zephyr, bring my love to me

and let me join the coming day.  


Of days and nights

of previous tenants, 

little remains. No

fading photos,

no hint of perfume. 

Little remains of

previous tenants

but this, 

a pit in a peeling wall, 


as if in a sudden,

violent anger.  


You create a constellation with a

finger as we lie,

curling in each other’s warmth

beneath a cloudless sky,  

and listen to the rustles from

the darkness of a tree,

and in the movement of the night

we smell the starlit sea. 

May many nights be like tonight,

I say and you reply,

but let us lie here while we may

beneath a cloudless sky. 

Stuart Payne lives in Cape Town, South Africa. 

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