The Forest Paths

  by: Francis Jammes (1868-1938)

    translated by Jethro Bithell

 

 

 

 

THE forest paths are muddy, after the rain;
The meadows are soaked through and through again.
The blackbirds in the yellow osiers sing,
The yellow osiers good for basketing.
I have been drinking at the rusty spout,
That glints with moss and spits the cold source out.
I would have loved you in this mossy place,
In days gone by, because of your sweet face.
But now I smile, as I my pipe begin,
The dreams I had were like magpies that spin.
I have reflected. And read novels, then
Verses from Paris, made by clever men.
Ah! they are far from sources in the rocks,
Where, among withered leaves, bathe brown woodcocks.
They should be here to see the huts I know,
Left ruined in the forest long ago.
And I would show them silver snipe, and thrushes,
Mild-mannered peasants, shining holly-bushes.
Then they would smoke their pipe, smile, and be glad,
And, if they suffer still, for men are sad,
They would be healed much when they heard the noise
Of pointed hawks that over farm-yards poise.


   More poems by Francis Jammes