The Mother Poem by Hugo Maurice Julien Claus

The Mother

I am not, I am only in your earth.
When you screamed and your skin quivered
My bones caught fire.

(My mother, caught in her skin,
Changes with the measure of the years.

Her eye is bright, escaped from the urge
Of the years through looking at me and
Calling me her happy son.

She was no stony bed, no animal fever,
Her joints were young cats,

But my skin remains unforgivable to her
And the crickets in my voice are motionless.

‘You have outgrown me,' she says dully
Washing my father's feet, and she is silent
Like a woman without a mouth.)

When you screamed my bones caught fire.
You put me down, I can never rebear this picture,
I was the invited but deadly guest.

And now, later, I in my manhood am strange to you.
You see me approach you, you think: ‘He is
The summer, he makes my flesh and keeps
The dogs in me alive.'

While you must die every day, not together
With me, I am not, I am not except in your earth.
In me your life perishes in rotation, you do not
Return to me, from you I do not recover.

Translation John Irons

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