by Paul Verlaine
Other people-innocents or lunatics --
Find in the woods only pallid charms,
Fresh breezes and warm scents. They are fortunate!
Others, dreamers, are seized with mystic dread.
They are fortunate I While I, nervous, maddened
By a vague, terrifying, and relentless remorse,
Tremble in the forest: I am like a coward
Who fears an ambush or thinks he sees a corpse.
These huge branches, ever restless as the sea,
Whence dark silence falls with shadows yet
Darker: all this dim, sinister scenery
Fills me with horror at once trivial and profound.
The worst are summer evenings: the red of sunset
Dissolves into gray-blue mists, which it dyes
With fire and blood; the angelus, ringing far off,
Seems an approaching plaintive cry.
The wind rises, heavy and warm; a shiver passes
And repasses, ever increasing, in the denseness
Ever deepening of the tall oaks: it possesses
And is dispersed like a miasma into space.
Night comes, the owl takes flight. This is the moment
When old wives' tales throng into the mind . . .
Under a thicket, over there, over there, spring waters
Sound like waiting assassins plotting to strike.
Last updated March 05, 2023