Habits - Poem by Cesare Pavese
On the asphalt of the avenue the moon makes
a quiet lake and my friend remembers other times.
A spontaneous encounter used to be enough for him
and he was no longer alone. Looking at the moon,
he breathed in the night. But the freshest scent
was of a woman encountered, the brief adventure
on unsure steps. The quiet room
and a fleeting desire to live there forever
filled his heart. Then, under the moon,
he returned with long strides, dazed and satisfied.
At that time he was his own great companion.
He woke in the morning and jumped from bed
finding his own body and his old thoughts.
He liked to go out under the rain
or the sun, he enjoyed watching the streets,
and talking to people spontaneously. He believed
he could always change his metier
up to the last day, each new morning.
After great exertions he sat smoking.
His greatest pleasure was to be alone.
My friend has aged and now wants a house
that he could cherish, and leave at night,
and stop on the avenue to look at the moon,
but find on his return a subdued woman,
a quiet woman, patiently waiting.
My friend has aged and is no longer content with himself.
The passersby are always the same; the rain
and the sun, the same; and morning's a desert.
To exert is no longer worth it. And going out under the moon,
when no one's waiting for him, is no longer worth it.
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