O JAMMES, your house is like your face. A beard
Of ivy overgrows it, and a pine
Shades it, as young for ever as your heart,
Spite of the wind and winters, and of grief.
The low wall of your yard is gilt with moss,
The house has but one humble storey, grass
Grows round your garden well and laurel-tree.
When like a dying bird I heard your gate
Cry, warm emotion made my spirit faint.
Long had my feet been borne towards you, Jammes,
And you were as my dreams had pictured you.
I saw your dogs lolling along the road,
And your frank eyes with melancholy smiling
Under your magpie hat of black and white.
Your pensive window sees the land meet sky,
Here are your pipes, and in your book-case glass
The fields reflected over poets' books. Since they were born, books will grow old, dear friend,
Others will laugh at what has made us weep.
But let not either of us, spite of age,
Forget the day when firmly we clasped hands,
A day as mild as when the autumn wanes,
We heard the tomtits singing in the hedge,
The bells were humming, carriages passed by..
It was a sad and long Palm Sunday: you,
Broken o'er love like a reed o'er water which
Trembles and under the wave sobs secretly,
I, quivering, keen to die of the departure
Upon that sea where barques turn pilotless.
We heard the tinkling bells of waggonettes,
Equally both were stirred by different thoughts,
And the grey heaven weighed on our wounded souls.
Shall I come back to sleep in your child's room,
Shall I come back with lashes wind-caressed,
To wait for the first star beneath your shed,
And in your little rose-wood coffer breathe,
Among the yellow heap of old, closed letters,
Love that alone survives in ash of things?
Jammes, he who leans out of your window sees
Villas, and fields, the verge, and mountain snows;
In May you murmur verses in your porch,
The sky's blue fills the gutters of your roof..
Melodious home, my friend, shall I return? To-morrow? Rather think of yesterday.
A homeless soul is cabined in my frame.
This was of all the heavy evenings I
Have e'er endured one of the heaviest:
The setting sun lavished its splendour o'er
The sea, and gilded all the marge of sand
Where I with brine-drenched air walked on and on,
Rolled like a pebble by the force of dreams,
With the deafening din of billows calling me,
Voice of volcanic, torrid lands and isles.
And full of you my heart has with a pebble,
Veined like a virgin's arm and white as milk,
Marked the day spent with you, Virgilian!