I was happy and no one was dead.
In the old house even my birthday was centuries-old tradition,
And everyone's joy, mine included, was as sure as any religion.
Back when they used to celebrate my birthday
I enjoyed the good health of understanding nothing,
Of being intelligent in my family's eyes,
And of not having the hopes that others had for me.
When I began to have hope, I no longer knew how to hope.
When I began to look at life, it had lost all its meaning for me.
Yes, that person I knew as me,
That person with a heart and family,
That person of quasi-rural evenings all spent together,
That person who was a boy they loved,
That person - my God! - whom only today I realize I was . . .
How faraway! . . .
(Not even an echo . . .)
When they used to celebrate my birthday!
The person I am today is like the damp in the wall at the back of the house
That makes the walls mildew . . .
What I am today (and the house of those who loved me trembles through my tears) --
What I am today is their having sold the house,
It's all of them having died,
It's I having survived myself like a spent match.