Treasure Island

Michael Wooff


Veranda


With water on red porphyry that tinkling falls
The rose-trees of Iran their cool murmurs mingle
And ring-doves in brown studies make soft cooing calls.
The willow-warbler, shrill, the hornet, jealous soul,
Sing and buzz about, bite figs to make mouths tingle.
The rose-trees of Iran their cool murmurs mingle
With water on red porphyry that tinkling falls.

Behind the cream lattice of a closed veranda,
In tepid air perfumed by the scent of jasmine,
Daytime's splendour drills a pink dart and Amanda,
Wife to the Persian Shah, stationary, tender,
Cradles her brown neck in hands whose skin's like satin
In tepid air perfumed by the scent of jasmine,
Behind the cream lattice of a closed veranda.

To lips made moist by a mouthpiece of curved amber
From glassware exhaling a nebulous vapour
Rising in light eddies that simmer and scamper
On cushions of silk gules with flowers or rampant,
A hookah-pipe writhes like a long twisted tapeworm
From glassware exhaling a nebulous vapour
To lips made moist by a mouthpiece of curved amber.

The pupils of her eyes, dilated, flash black rays.
Almond eyes, half open, send glances into space.
Enveloped by a dream, a breath gentles her daze,
The whims of a powerful fragrance she obeys.
Her lungs that take in air her ample breasts displace.
Almond eyes, half open, send glances into space.
The pupils of her eyes, dilated, flash black rays.

Water on red porphyry no longer resounds,
The rose-trees of Iran proffer murmurs no more,
Ring-doves in brown studies leave off their cooing sounds.
All's silent. Shrill bird, jealous hornet know their bounds,
See no further reason round ripe figs to fight for.
The rose-trees of Iran proffer murmurs no more.
Water on red porphyry no longer resounds.

[Translated from the French of LECONTE DE LISLE (1818-1894) by Michael Wooff]

Submitted: Saturday, February 14, 2009

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