Lend me your grand noise, your grand allure so sweet,

Your nocturnal gliding through Europe illuminated,

O deluxe train! and the harrowing music

That noises along your passageways of gilded leather,

While behind the lacquered doors, with latches of thick brass,

Millionaires sleep.


I go along your passageways humming,

And follow your course toward Vienna and Budapest,

Mingling mine with your hundred thousand voices,

O Harmonika-Zug!


I tasted for the first time all the sweetness of life,

In a Nord-Express compartment, between Wirballen and Pskow.

We glided through prairies where shepherds,

Beneath groups of grand trees just like hills,

Were dressed in raw and dirty sheepskins…

(Eight o’clock of an autumn morning, and the beautiful prima donna

With violet eyes sang in the next compartment).

And you, grand windows through which I saw pass

Siberia and the Mountains of Samnium,

Castile harsh and flowerless, and the sea of Marmara in a warm rain!

Lend me, o Orient-Express, Sud-Brenner-Bahn, lend me

Your miraculous thuds and

Your vibrating chanterelle voices,

Lend me the light ready respiration

Of tall and slender locomotives, in motions

So easy, locomotives of express trains,

Preceding effortlessly four yellow cars with golden letters

Into the mountain solitudes of Serbia,

And, farther on, across Bulgaria full of roses…


Ah! these noises and this motion must

Enter into my poems and utter

For me my unutterable life, my life

Of a child who wishes to do nothing, except

Hope forevermore vague things.


Valéry Larbaud