It has happened that at night, in bed,
I have turned on the light to have a look at me.
(I even dare remail letters just received unopened
to become once more the recipient.)
I think I have lost sight of myself
and have somehow disappeared into somewhere.
For every day I find it more peculiar
to catch me at still being present.
Really, it happens sometimes that in the morning
I look at this self in the mirror as at a stranger
and I cannot remember
where I have met him before.
Until it occurs to me that the previous day
I saw him in that other mirror.
(Whether this has something to do with dying
I don’t dare say. If I meet my self, I’ll ask him.)
When, finally relieved of summer’s heat
Fermenting autumn tramples in the vat
The flattened grape that’s bursting underfoot,
Then I am troubled by a darker mood.
The farmer threshes sheaves of piled up wheat,
Insuring payment for his work and time,
In cellars stores his barrels full of wine
And gathers from his orchard autumn’s fruit.
Is this not a foreboding telling me
That I a harvest of my own shall see?
I’m not so sure, and yet it is a solace.
I dare to hope, when guessing at it’s meaning,
That if there is a lesson on this gleaning
Of time, some fruit is sure to be my promise.
My dear Gascogne, how humble you still are,
Ashamed in France to call your Gasconne.
The river Sorgue acquired a sudden fame
Yet yesterday nobody knew its name.
You see the little Loir running along
As if it had become a major river?
How proud its current flows, swifter than ever
Along the Mince. Now it can do no wrong.
Graft Arno’s olive tree onto its shore
And it adds speed and glory to the Loire.
Listen, believe me! One day, my Dorgogne
If I am right, you will be better known.
Those other gods, the Garonne and the Rhȏne,
Jealous of you, will then shame you no more.
Enough, my friends! Don’t wish me to forget.
But let me love, let me be obstinate.
This is my fate, to live and die of it.
My love to life is the connecting thread.
The Fairy told me that in Calydon
She destined Meleager to such love
And lit his wick with it when he was born
And said, “You and this flame now shall be one.”
So she, commanding him, his fate foretold
And on his destiny kept a firm hold.
The tree, they say, was by the fire consumed.
At last, oh marvel, in a single stroke
The lover was delivered of his yoke
When both his life and love went up in smoke.