This morning’s rain  evoked in my memory the famous poem “Like city’s rain, my heart . . .”by the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. Years ago, I read it in Russian. There are more than ten translations of this poem in the Russian language, and it is difficult to choose the best one since all of them are very beautiful and composed by talented poets. There is a Russian saying that goes something like: “The translator in prose is a slave, but the translator in poetry is a rival.

I was happy to find that this poem is also popular in English, and many different poets tried to find the right words in English to express  the feelings and the images of Verlaine.

Here are two translations into English.

“Like city’s rain, my heart . . .”
by Paul Verlaine
Translated by Norman R. Shapiro

“The rain falls gently on the town…”
(Arthur Rimbaud )
Like city’s rain, my heart
Rains teardrops too. What now,
This languorous ache, this smart
That pierces, wounds my heart?

Gentle, the sound of rain
Pattering roof and ground!
Ah, for the heart in pain,
Sweet is the sound of rain!

Tears rain-but who knows why?-
And fill my heartsick heart.
No faithless lover’s lie? . . .
It mourns, and who knows why?

And nothing pains me so–
With neither love nor hate–
A simply not to know
Why my heart suffers so.

Translation by Johnathan Robin:
It rains in my heart
as on town and on mart,
pours down longings that start
to reign in my heart!
Oh soft ringing of rain
poured on earth, eave and pane, –
for poor heart feeling pain, –
oh the ringing of rain!
It rains without reason
in hurt heart fears have lease on.
What? – no season for treason?
Do I grieve without reason?
What most hurts me, I wait
‘Why’ not knowing, sad fate,
without love, without hate, …
On my heart lies deadweight!