Skip to main content

The Woman in the Moon

After Victor Hugo — La Lune

The gods on Mount Olympus were the terror of the Greeks.
Descending one day, Venus fell and badly bruised her cheeks,
and when I say her cheeks I’m not referring to her face.

The men down on the earth looked up and laughed at this disgrace.
‘The gods,’ they said, ‘whom normally we worship and revere
don’t strike us with such awe when we observe them from the rear.’

‘Right then,’ said Venus, ‘since you’ve seen the tender side of me,
I’m emigrating to a place where that is all you’ll see!’

The man who gazes at the moon still feels a sharp regret
that views of Venus’ bottom are the only views he’ll get.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington

Victor Hugo — La Lune

L’Olympe a dans l’azur des degrés inconnus;
Un jour, en descendant cet escalier, Vénus
Tomba, se fit des bleus ailleurs que sur la face,
Et les hommes en bas rirent; l’effroi s’efface
Quand on peut voir les dieux par leur autre côté.
—Soit, dit alors Vénus, pour leur rire effronté,
Les hommes, ayant eu cette bonne fortune,
Ne verront plus de moi que cela.—

                                                        C’est la lune.