I want your hand to be placed on my heart, and come,
I want the palm of your hand on my heart, for it to be placed on me.
Before you come I shall light a fire and I shall await
Your coming patiently. I want the big fire.
To be alight all night, and voices in the silence of this fire
To be heard only as we once heard the sound of the sea,
For your shoulder, hand, arm to be put on my heart,
And for the fire to be alight.
Let it snow outside, let’s not remember anyone outside.
Let the town fall into a heavy sleep, let the town sleep,
Let fathers, brothers sleep sweetly and bitterly.
Let every place, space and area be covered in white snow.
Let factories, stations, the airport sleep in peace,
Let the sky too rest in sleep, let there be no flying,
Let the yard dogs, the tramp, the bird on the wire
Be overcome by slumber, let everything surrender to slow
Sleep and peace. But let me hold your weak
And white hand the whole night and have it on my heart.
Let for a moment an unknown god stop by our windows,
And let us too go to sleep, but let the fire stay alight.
translation 2007 by Donald Rayfield