In a Strange Country

by Théo Léger
Why go away thus, proceeding across the fields
In your precise black gloves, you person in a derby?
No one expects you.
To a country of blue chasms, air that breathes
The deep mourning of this season.
And the mountains! Those iron fangs, those hoarse wild waters.
I do not know this place! where the tall women
Turn upon me a splendid, alien gaze,
The somber silver of unhuman snows.
I go on, shade of a great desire,
Drunk still on the rich fumes of the lowlands,
Toward some vast ruin, unknown, standing gutted
By all the winds of the heart, by obstinacy.
I am blinded and bruised.
And yet,
Up there in the sun lies the village,
Calm under the deep dome of autumn,
Concerned with the soft sky and the ripened fruit.
The women must hurry to harvest.
Snug, drowsing among home possessions,
Their people are settled for winter.
Oh, I am blind! Let it at least be given me to speak.
And let the year hold back a little while
Its lowering snows. For love’s sake,
Or for pity’s. For the world, once in mourning,
Must swoop into a zone of fogs and rages,
Its great wing bloodier even than before.

Translated by E. S. Yntema