Francis Jammes & the coming Winter

Francis Jammes

The apparent temperature was 0.5 degrees when I rode my bicycle home from university this afternoon. The sun is setting early enough that it precludes an afternoon run at the mountain. So here is a Jammes to carry us warmly into the cold of near Winter. Translation is by Jethro Bithell.

It is going to snow

It is going to snow in a few days. I remember
This time last year. My heart, O how it bled!
Had I been asked: “What ails thee?” I should have said:
“Nothing. Leave me alone. It is December.”

O those bad thoughts! I had no good of them,
This time last year when heavy snow was cloaking
The world outside. And now as then I am smoking
A pipe of briar-wood with an amber stem.

And still my old oak chest of drawers smells good.
But I was foolish, for these things can never
Be changed, and they do only pose as clever
Who drives away the things bred in their blood.

Why do we think, and why, like the bees’ humming,
Must these our tongues be talking? We understand
Kisses and tears although they speak not, and
Sweeter than sweet words is a comrade’s coming.

The stars have been baptized by name and class
Although they need it not, and figures showing
That beautiful comets through the darkness going
Will pass through light will force them not to pass.

Where is last year’s distress? My memory fails me,
What weeds of woe were in this heart full-grown.
I should answer: “It is nothing. Leave me alone,”
If someone in my chamber asked: “What ails thee?”

2 Comments

Filed under Poetry turnstile

2 responses to “Francis Jammes & the coming Winter

  1. head

    how i remember last winter sweet and cold as cherries from the fridge

  2. … and Dhulundur’ sweet, cold and rich as mangoes from the fridge! 🙂

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