Henri Meschonnic (1932 – 2009) is best known worldwide for his translations of the Old Testament and extensive work on rhythm. He published nineteen poetry collections, winning the Max Jacob International Poetry Prize, the Mallarmé Prize, the Jean Arp Francophone Literature Prize, and the Guillevic-Ville de Saint-Malo Grand Prize for Poetry. He is that rarest of poets: an agent of civilization in a climate of upheaval, treating essential questions of life within the shortest poetic forms, writing out of oral tradition in which rhythm drives not only the poem but also historical and social forces. He uses common language (without titles, capitalization, or punctuation) located in a particular moment, and yet there’s a wonderful, vast scope of time in his choices of images and metaphors—very simple words become very complex in dimension: words that lose sleep and silence waiting on humans to become tellers of “an end of the world where the trees bend / under the weight of butterflies.” Poems of exile in the desert interrogate boundaries, and the movement of a bird flapping from branch to branch raises questions of identity and alterity. This poem comes from his first collection, Dédicaces proverbes [Proverbial Dedications], Gallimard, 1972.