A snake came to my water-trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree I came down the steps with my pitcher And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough And rested his throat upon the stone bottom, And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness, He sipped with his straight mouth, Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body, Silently.
Someone was before me at my water-trough, And I, like a second comer, waiting.
He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do, And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do, And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment, And stooped and drank a little more, Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth On the day of Sicilian July, with Ætna smoking. The voice of my education said to me He must be killed, For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
And voices in me said: If you were a man You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him, How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless, Into the burning bowels of this earth?
Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured? I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices: If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more That he should seek my hospitality From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, Seeming to lick his lips, And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air, And slowly turned his head, And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream, Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole, And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole, Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after, Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher, I picked up a clumsy log And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
I think it did not hit him, But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste, Writhed like lightning, and was gone Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front, At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.
And immediately I regretted it. I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act! I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
And I thought of the albatross And I wished he would come back, my snake.
For he seemed to me again like a king, Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords Of life. And I have something to expiate: A pettiness.
Vous n'avez réclamé la gloire ni les larmes Ni l'orgue, ni la prière aux agonisants Onze ans déjà, que cela passe vite onze ans Vous vous étiez servi simplement de vos armes La mort n'éblouit pas les yeux des partisans.
Vous aviez vos portraits sur les murs de nos villes Noirs de barbe et de nuit, hirsutes, menaçants L'affiche qui semblait une tache de sang Parce qu'à prononcer vos noms sont difficiles Y cherchait un effet de peur sur les passants.
Nul ne semblait vous voir Français de préférence Les gens allaient sans yeux pour vous le jour durant Mais à l'heure du couvre-feu des doigts errants Avaient écrit sous vos photos " Morts pour la France" Et les mornes matins en étaient différents.
Tout avait la couleur uniforme du givre À la fin février pour vos derniers moments Et c'est alors que l'un de vous dit calmement: "Bonheur à tous, bonheur à ceux qui vont survivre Je meurs sans haine en moi pour le peuple allemand."
"Adieu la peine et le plaisir. Adieu les roses Adieu la vie. Adieu la lumière et le vent Marie-toi, sois heureuse et pense à moi souvent Toi qui vas demeurer dans la beauté des choses Quand tout sera fini plus tard en Erevan."
"Un grand soleil d'hiver éclaire la colline Que la nature est belle et que le coeur me fend La justice viendra sur nos pas triomphants Ma Mélinée, ô mon amour, mon orpheline Et je te dis de vivre et d'avoir un enfant."
Ils étaient vingt et trois quand les fusils fleurirent Vingt et trois qui donnaient le coeur avant le temps Vingt et trois étrangers et nos frères pourtant Vingt et trois amoureux de vivre à en mourir Vingt et trois qui criaient "la France!" en s'abattant.
The Red Poster
You demanded neither glory nor tears Nor organ music, nor last rites Eleven years already, how quickly eleven years go by You made use simply of your weapons Death does not dazzle the eyes of partisans.
You had your pictures on the walls of our cities Black with beard and night, hirsute, threatening The poster, that seemed like a bloodstain, Using your names that are hard to pronounce, Sought to sow fear in the passers-by.
No one seemed to see you French by choice People went by all day without seeing you, But at curfew wandering fingers Wrote under your photos "Fallen for France" And it made the dismal mornings different.
Everything had the unvarying colour of frost In late February for your last moments And that's when one of you said calmly: "Happiness to all, happiness to those who survive, I die with no hate in me for the German people.
"Goodbye to pain, goodbye to pleasure. Farewell the roses, Farewell life, the light and the wind. Marry, be happy and think of me often You who will remain in the beauty of things When it's all over one day in Erevan.
"A broad winter sun lights up the hill How nature is beautiful and how my heart breaks Justice will come on our triumphant footsteps, My Mélinée, o my love, my orphan girl, And I tell you to live and to have a child."
There were twenty-three of them when the guns flowered Twenty-three who gave their hearts before it was time, Twenty-three foreigners and yet our brothers Twenty-three in love with life to the point of losing it Twenty-three who cried "France!" as they fell.
Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?
Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?
Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the �colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?
Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?
Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?
Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.
Dear God: Are there postmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?
Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog.
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.
2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.
3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.
4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.
5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.
8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.
9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.
10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.
11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.
12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.
P.S. Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?