PAIN AND PLEASURE

The sun is boiling hot. The earth is ready to burn up.

For hours and hours, bent over
Arduous work, I’m ready to faint.
The thumping of my heart roars in my ears,
Dazzled, ringing, swimming.
I must stop or fall down.
I drag myself slowly to lean on the hedge.
(Useful hedges that people are trying to kill).

With the freshness of the breeze in the oak-tree’s shade,
My pulse slows down, my look clears up,
My fatigue disappears and my strength increases.

And the loveliest scene appears before me!

At the base of the hill opposite me: the small forest of Ankou’s Hole (1)
Steeped in a blue mist.
The deep-green of the oak-trees seems black to me.
The beechnut bearing beechtrees have rusty visages.
The lacework of the ash-tree is elegant and light.
On the masts of the poplars there are still tender leaves
In the middle of the forest a torch of light:
The whitish dome of a chestnut in blossom,
Like a giant brush that was dipped in cream
To attract the bees?

December 1963.

(1) A place-name; Ankou is the mythic Breton figure representing death.

Translated by Lenora Timm

This poem in breton





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