“The Apprentice: I. Chanson de Blackboulé” by Emanuel Carnevali

The Apprentice


Chanson de Blackboulé

Just as the passing wind
catches the word of the glittering leaves,
I'd make your curled lips tingle
with a swift kiss — should you let me.
you see me bent and doubled up
by silence
in silence
and my words are harsh,
sounds of a body that breaks.

You turn your wide eyes,
ever bewildered,
bewildered as the sun when it glances
its first glance on the lake, at dawn,
you see all things with newness,
you see all,
all but my love.
Well, that's how it goes, eh, Annie?
All but my clumsy, self-accursed love
under my bent and folded
body awe-full of raptures,
awe-full of the tree-tops and leaves skipping, snap-
under those clouds, —
clouds that the moon is kissing
over my silent head.
That's how things go and that's
precisely how things should go —
that's how the wind presses our cheeks a moment
and dips
behind us away, it's how
it stretches a ribbon over our eyelids
and pulls it from behind, it's my heels pounding the
it's how things go, the way
they happen,
the morning, the evening and night —
how they come and they go and are going
and linger,
it's love that comes and love
that does not come.

I'll say no hands
will know your hands as mine do,
your hands that are soft as the grass is.
But there's no answer coming
to me, so
don't worry, Annie.
Don't worry, wide round eyes.
Do turn around and
around, wide round eyes,
and soft slender hands do whisper
of easy happiness and of a young
and you, dear child, do say,
do say and repeat,
do repeat most vigorously
that you don't love me.
I have today again uncovered the sky and have found
ever so cool and ever so new, under.
I wait for no answer, and no thing
to ask, and no thing
to say, besides what you know and I know
and that which
to the end of days
will have one and an only
and no meaning
and all meanings and

Emanuel Carnevali's "Chanson de Blackboulé" was the first poem in the sequence "The Apprentice" published in the third Others anthology (1920). To read this poem in this publication context, follow the link below: