The Roses of Saadi

          by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

This morning, I wanted to bring roses to you,
But I filled my sashes with the garden entire,
And the knots stretched too tight, since I took so many.

The strained knots burst apart, and the roses all flew;
Snatched away by the wind, into the sea they went,
Where they followed the tide and so were lost to me.

The waves turned bright crimson, as though they were on fire.
This evening, my dress is still drenched in their scent—
Come to me and inhale their fragrant memory.

                                   Translated by Peter Shor, September 2019

And the original:

                    Les Roses de Saadi

           Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

J'ai voulu ce matin te rapporter des roses ;
Mais j'en avais tant pris dans mes ceintures closes
Que les noeuds trop serrés n'ont pu les contenir.

Les noeuds ont éclaté. Les roses envolées
Dans le vent, à la mer s'en sont toutes allées.
Elles ont suivi l'eau pour ne plus revenir ;

La vague en a paru rouge et comme enflammée.
Ce soir, ma robe encore en est tout embaumée...
Respires-en sur moi l'odorant souvenir.