Since you and I have seen how our hope
has, so many times, turned to disappointment,
raise your heart to a happier state,
towards that great good that never cheats us.
This earthly life’s like a meadow, where
a snake hides among the grass and flowers:
and if anything is pleasing to the eye,
it leaves the spirit more entangled.
So you, who’ve always sought a mind
at peace, before the final day,
follow the few, and not the common crowd.
Though you could well say to me: ‘Brother
you show the way to others, from which
you’ve often strayed, and now more than ever.’
Do not expect the final answer,
It is not given in this life.
But the ear of the poet clearly catches
The distant thunder on his road.
He has bent his head attentively,
Eagerly, he takes it in, fine-strung, he waits,
And already he can hear it:
It flowers, it basks in bliss, it grows….
And nearer yet, the premonition stronger,
But, Ah! The expectation is unbearable…
And the seer falls, struck dumb,
Hearing the thunder close upon the road.
Black snow that dribbles from the roofs;
A blood-red finger dips into your brow,
Blue nerves sink into the barren chamber,
That are the lifeless mirrors of lovers.
The head breaks into weighty pieces and ponders
On shadows mirrored in blue nerves,
The frozen smile of a dead whore.
In sweet carnations weeps the evening breeze.
It is a high, carved sideboard made of oak.
The dark old wood, like old folks, seems kind;
Its drawers are open, and its odors soak
The darkness with the scent of strong old wine.
Its drawers are full, a final resting place
For scented, yellowed linens, scraps of clothes
For wives or children, worn and faded bows,
Grandmothers’ collars made of figured lace;
There you will find old medals, locks of gray
Or yellow hair, and portraits, and a dried bouquet
Whose perfume mingles with the smell of fruit.
– O sideboard of old, you know a great deal more
And could tell us your tales, yet you stand mute
As we slowly open your old dark door.
When the sky appears in pain
and sunset no more than a wound,
what are the thoughts that occur
to a libertine soul like yours?
– Nothing can slake my thirst
for the nameless and the obscure:
you’ll never hear me complain
like Ovid whining for Rome,
The canyons of bloody cloud
accommodate my pride,
their nebulous shapes become
a splendid hearse for my dreams,
their red glow the reflection
of the Hell where my heart’s at home.
The moon arises, friend of waterlilies
and bringer of sleep to the lotus grove,
fondling as it were the nymphs of the directions
with his rays as fair as saffron.
Grieve not, oh earth; the darkness will not last.
Be happy, lily pond; do not despair…
The moon now rises, a lamp to all the world,
sole mountain from which flow
all streams of moonlight nectar.
Lounge in the shade of the luxuriant laurel’s
beautiful foliage. And now drink sweet water
from the cold spring so that your limbs weary
with summer toil will find rest in the west wind…