Thursday, 1 May 2014

The old quays - Georges Rodenbach

That exquisite hour at evening’s approach,
when the heavens fill with processions tinged rose
which advance, shedding souls and flowers,
casting into the air the fragrance of censers.
Then, more lucid beneath the declining light
of sunset, whose crimson glow gradually dies,
the charm of old walls where ancient streets end.
Facades ornamented, coloured stained glass,
bands of captive cupids in the mournfulness of cartouches,
women on whom dust has shed the blossom of their lips,
flowers of stone lending cheer to walls lavishly historiated.
The black gothic of the gables is traced
on the slumbering current as stairways of crepe
and the moon rises at the halo’s core,
like a lamp of gold upon a grand wooden bier.
Oh, the old quais drowsing in the solemn evening
sensing of a sudden on their faces of stone
the icy kiss of the river’s farewell
that runs under bridges and into their tunnels.
Oh, the bluish shade they acquire at the hour
when lamps are lit, canals gazed on by lovers
who before the waters exchange their vows
as they hear through the mist the bells moaning sound.
All is in the throes of death, all keeps silent:
nothing is heard but a melancholy tune on a weeping flute,
alone in some blackened dwelling, unseen
on whose worm-eaten remains the player leans!
And one imagines far off, the mournful musician,
crestfallen, impoverished, playing beneath crumbling roofs;
as into his fingers passed evening’s sorrow,
and from the holes he draws song from the shadows.

Georges Rodenbach (1855 – 1898) Belgium

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.