This is my modern English translation of a French poem by Voltaire, one of my all-time favorite writers. The poem is followed by two translations of epigrams by Voltaire.
Les Vous et Les Tu (“You, then and now”)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
i can't stop thinking about your eyes. they remind me of black holes in space, deep, empty, mysterious.
i adore them, and can't help but steal glances at them as you fix your eyeliner in the mirror.
i can't stop thinking about when you said you admired me, when you said you wanted to be like me:
i can't stop thinking about the way you laugh and the way you murmur swear words,
the way they roll off your tongue eccentric and ladylike.
i wish i could smile normal and say hello normal like you do to me in the halls of our barren school.