It was not easy to conduct my friendly
Relations with this table, from this chair
In which I face it now.
My work— In need of hasty doing—intervened,
Or an illness left me indisposed to all
The things around me, none of which seemed pleasing
When my eyes were not already calm.
But the world rubs against us all day long,
And circumstances—of very different levels—
Require an effort... of dominion.
This chair And table, in the tranquil situation
Of their adjustment to a quiet more
Than merely practical, at last, maintain
The tense strength of an equilibrium
In which it's I who take the part
Of the needed energy.
And I who feel
The triumphant peace here now, because I hear it,
Without even trying, in my own ears, and I
Widen it with my calm, strengthened by this
Judicious attitude of true-plumbed prudence:
Both I and the smooth wood of the table,
At a precise level of circumstance.
Translated by Reginald Gibbons