Nobody in most baffling night
May see me lost among the swell
Of flowered parks, where garments fell
In folds by love's nostalgic light.
Past noonday sloth, that secret thrush
Refining still the selfsame song.
The fountains purl by arbor's throng,
And statues and odd ruins brush.
In hollow shade a coach apace
Marks, I know well, the confines' shake,
This dust and jasmine world we break,
Herrera and Verlaine's sweet place.
The eucalyptus shade emits
A healing and now ancient scent,
That past its time and language sits
On country farms of memories spent.
Steps search and find the threshold's feet
Its darksome limit the roof suggests;
On chessboard patio facing west
Some water drips in broken beat.
Beyond the doors, they sleep and think
Those who still dream and work at night,
Masters of visionary sight
Of yesteryear and deadest things.
I know each thing in this old house:
The crystal faces of the clocks,
Revealed in turn upon grey rocks
In faded mirrors' endless joust.
A lion's head whose teeth hold firm
A ring, then multicolored panes:
A child's first sense of worlds that churn
In red and green, they never wane.
Beyond pure chance and death's black shroud
They last, alone in detailed shape.
Yet all occurs by fate's mad cape:
Dimension four, mnemonic cloud.
They last, alone, and so exist
The gardens, patios and the past;
In that preserve of rounded cast,
That dawn and dusk will both have kissed.
How could I then have lost the thread,
Beloved, humble things once known?
As distant as the roses shown
In Paradise to Adam's breath?
An elegy of olden days
Still haunts me now, that house I see!
Like time, who is my mystery;
Like me, who is time, blood and pain.
A translation by Hadi Kamil Deeb