Tag Archives: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

In the street (from Marceline Desbordes-Valmore)

In the street

from Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

THE WOMAN:

We no longer have money to bury our dead.
The priest is there, writing down the cost of the funeral;
and the bodies stretched out, pierced by a swarm of bullets,
await a shroud, a cross, a word of remorse.

Murder is king. The victor whistles and passes.
Where is he going? To the Treasury, to fetch the prize for the blood.
He has spilled plenty of it! but his hand is not tired:
it has cut the throat of the passer-by without fighting.

God saw it. God gathered, like crumpled flowers,
the women, the children, who flew away to heaven.
The men… see them here in blood right up to the eyes.
The air was unable to carry so many angry souls.

They do not want to leave their dead limbs.
The priest is there, writing down the cost of the funeral;
and the bodies stretched out, pierced by a hail of bullets,
await a shroud, a cross, a word of remorse.

The living no longer dare take the risk of living.
Paid sentry in the middle of the way,
Death is a soldier who aims and who delivers
the rebellious witness who would talk tomorrow…

THE WOMEN:

Let us take our black ribbons, let us take all our tears;
we have been prevented from carrying away our murdered:
they have only made a heap of their pale remains:
God! bless them all, they were all unarmed!

Lyon, 4th April 1834

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