Of My Death

Guillevic, Eugene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: May-18-1998


This poem is a series of short meditations on death. The poet begins by surveying his surroundings, "Here / the air is sharp-edged / like the air will be / at the end of your days." But, no, the poem is not about the abstract subject of death--the poet encounters his own death. "At least I won't have to / know myself then, / won't have to see my own corpse."

Encountering death is itself a journey, "Each lap of the journey / dangerous, / the destination / kept secret." Yet he realizes that the meditation, the journey, has "nothing in common with / what the end of my days / will be." Death is irreducibly unimaginable and alien.


Denise Levertov was the translator of this compilation of Guillevic's Selected Poems. Levertov's own poetic sensibility has much in common with Guillevic's and one can easily hear her voice speaking in "Of My Death." The New Directions edition presents the original French text on left-hand pages and English translation on the right, thus allowing the bilingual reader to enjoy the beauty of both poets' language. "Of My Death" invites the reader to deep meditation upon the ground of being.


Translated by Denise Levertov.

Primary Source

Selected Poems


New Directions


Alfred A. Knopf

Place Published

New York

Place Published

New York, New York





Page Count


Page Count

vi + 111