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J.V. FOIX (1894-1987)




(E-translation by Hillary Gardner)

Alone, and in mourning, garbed in black,
I have these visions of myself in dark solitudes,
in pastures unknown or on slopes of stone,
stopped in my tracks beside pools whose depths astound.

Where am I? I ask myself. What ancient landscape,
what dead sky, which silent meads,
do I foolishly seek? Towards which miracle
of a long-lost star do my familiar steps lead?

Alone, I am eternal. A thousand-year old terrain
entices me, what was strange is no longer strange,
I was born to this place; desert without oasis

or snow-capped peak, here I rediscover where
I have wandered already, and, from God, a legacy
I can make mine. Or, how to fall to the devil's design.


(E-translation by Hillary Gardner)

I like, for no reason, to wander along the walls
of past eras, and from my dark countenance,
under a laurel tree or beside a Tuscan font,
with evening on the way, conjure sieges and old battles.

In the morning I'm glad to take up my tools,
to get at the clutch with pliers or wrench,
to right the axle and without a hitch
to head down an asphalt highway for a spell.

Taking the hills or winding through an arbored valley
or fording furiously the river: what a novel world I'm in!
I'm glad then also for the gentle shade of the linden tree;

the enduring museum, its faded virgins
and the latest extremes of art! Ingenuous whim:
what's old I adore, what's new elates me.