LE PÉLERIN THE PILGRIM
Émile Verhaeren trans. Allen Prowle

......Mêlant des fleurs à des ciguës,
...........Et des jurons à ses prières,
......Il trimbale, par les bruyères,
......Le pèlerin, vers Montaigu.

......Il va traînant, par les sablons,
Ses vieux souliers où l’on a mis du plomb.

Il marche et souffre, et pour que Dieu l’exauce,
Et pour que Dieu et sa Mère soient doux,
...........On a fourré du houx
......Dans ses manches et dans ses chausses.
Le malade qui vers le ciel l’envoie
......Tousse, là-bas, au fond des fermes:
......La nuit dans sa terreur l’enferme.
......Sous la lune, parmi les bois,
...........Les chiens aboient;
......Le malade se sent perdu
Si sa prière n’est pas entendue,
......Par la dame de Montaigu.

......Quand il partit, le pèlerin,
...........Le clair matin
Baptisait l’ombre, avec de la rosée;
......Le coq chantait de sa voix angoisée,
......Le vieux chaudron qui balle dans la tour,
...........Disait bonjour au jour;
...........Et les servantes molles
......Bâillaient et s’étiraient encor,
Dans les greniers, où palpitaient au vent de folles
......Folioles, contre les carreaux d’or.

......He picks some flowers, and hemlock too,
...........and utters oaths and prayers together,
......the pilgrim plodding through the heather
......on his way to Montaigu.

......Over the dunes, he drags his feet,
they have put some lead in his old shoes.

He walks and he suffers, and for God to hear his prayers,
and for God and his Mother to grant him their mercy,
...........they have stuffed sprigs of holly
......in his breeches and sleeves.
The sick man who sends him towards heaven
......coughs, back there, down in the farms:
......night locks him up inside his terror.
......By moonlight, in among the woods,
...........dogs bark;
......the sick man feels doomed
if his prayers are not heard,
......by the lady of Montaigu.

......When the pilgrim set out,
...........the clear morning light
was baptising the darkness with dew;
......the cockerel sang with his anguished voice,
......while the cauldron of old that now swung in the tower
...........was saying to the day good day;
...........and the sluggish housemaids
......still yawned and stretched
in the garrets, where fluttered the wild
......little leaves, against the panes of gold.

Trans. copyright © Allen Prowle 2010



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