Yes I’ll forget you, stage boards and the masquerade
Of life and likewise those never contested lies…
You, reputed pleasures whose bland taste so soon fades,
The meagre thrill called love by those fooled by its guise.
I will no longer stifle in this atmosphere
Where my heart’s on the rocks, at its last gasp, insane
Like some poor wounded bird that only keels and veers:
I need a skyline’s rim to trim my flight again;
Need kisses ever new; universe, your firm vows
And those of wind, of night, of sun, and roses too,
Of fervent Longing which the elements all house;
Great tenderness transformed a hundred times anew.
For us who cross the lightning-flash between two nights
Bearing a burdened soul on its lone, endless quest,
Having at least the choice, in that brief flare of light,
Of the vain dream that’s kindest and consoles us best.
For paltry times of joy and zest fast on the wane,
And gods that have been fashioned without any art,
Scanty possessions craved by the plebian heart,
Let us till death preserve invincible disdain.
May needing a persistent goal be our sure guide,
Like some proud angel, with tall lilies held on high;
Outside all narrow walls, where skyward flight’s denied,
And false or ugly doors, may we our own course ply.
And, Nature, you who lavish splendours with free hand,
– And mirror so compliantly my own reflection –
Far from worn-out beings with contours’ imperfection,
Seek, oh my lofty loves, one who can understand.
I’ll lay aside my pride… and too much thinking scorn,
If possible! Will be, as in the midst of corn,
The simple farmer and his quite angelic kine,
The cicada or quail with rustic song benign.
For no apparent reason… simply for the sweep
Of sun embracing pastures with the scented sleep
Of tender laughter to the sky with rays of light,
I’ll come to feel my eyelid rims less dry and tight.
My soul, its ties now loosening, will float on air
Like a corolla in the innocent fresh breeze,
Its movement in the flowering grass will form a pair
With naked living water, sliding with lithe ease.
I’ll lay aside my pride… Perhaps I’ll surely weep
Beside this stream that flows in the seductive smell
Of fragrant orchis and of meadowsweet as well;
Slowly, like one at prayer, at length I’ll surely weep,
Because I’ve suffered from too much severity,
Since my sad childhood from a life so unfulfilled,
Grew tired at once of goods I tasted aimlessly,
And always had this soul whose thirst was never stilled.
And, above all, beneath my brow, though never shown
There is this scornful heart no love could quite suffice
Where endless longing, crushing me as in a vice,
Would feel unheard-of bliss whose name remains unknown.
Le Beuchot – August 1912