Karen DeMello: A favorite poem

Demain, des l’aube
by Victor Hugo

For over 30 years my favorite poem has been “Demain, des l’aube” by Victor Hugo.  I first came upon this poem in a college French literature class, where I fell in love with the sound of the words and the unexpected conclusion.  Even to this day I gasp when the destination is reached.  Over the years I have read this poem to many friends who do not know French, yet they feel the emotion.  Victor Hugo’s beautiful biographical words touch and console me,  giving me hope to continue on when times are tough.

Karen DeMello
Software Engineer by day, Nature walk educator by night/weekend
Mountain View

Demain, des l’aube

Tomorrow, at dawn, in the hour when the countryside becomes white,
I will leave. You see, I know that you are waiting for me.
I will go by the forest, I will go by the mountain.
I cannot stay far from you any longer.

I will walk the eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Without seeing anything outside, nor hearing any noise,
Alone, unknown, the back curved, the hands crossed,
Sad, and the day for me will be like the night.

I will not look at the gold of the evening which falls,
Nor the faraway sails descending towards Harfleur.
And when I arrive, I will put on your tomb
A green bouquet of holly and flowering heather.

(for the original French, click below)

Victor Hugo

French (which I read aloud):
Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

Victor Hugo



Filed under Favorite Poem

4 responses to “Karen DeMello: A favorite poem

  1. Tim Tomasi

    Thank you Karen for this striking and lovely poem


  2. Mavis

    What a lovely thought for a new day! Today is our 59th wedding anniversary. I love your choices of poetry.

  3. Patricia Shepard


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