Great Silent Woods…


From Fleurs de Rêve by May Ziadeh, my own translation:

Oh! mornings and evenings, how beautiful you were! Every one of your hours brought me a new sensation, a new trouble, a new meaning of Religion, of Science and of Life.

Great silent woods, I shall never forget your deep calm and how fresh and peaceful you were!

But you have forgotten the child who climbed upon your trees, who dreamt and cried and played and laughed in your sweet depths. Who, very often in the night, went barefoot out on the terrace and sent you long silent kisses and wept bitterly for she was homesick for you!

Ah! I am the same, I love you still with my whole heart; I love the silver spring murmuring under your shadows and the birds singing among your branches; I love the panorama I saw from my window in the study, when, at six o’clock in the morning, our eyelids still heavy with sleep, they brought us there to learn lessons and write compositions.

I remember often having done nothing near the little beloved morning window but look at the mountains and at the distant sea soft, blue and divine; it was so distant that it seemed to mingle with the sky and I could not help looking at both blues and write warm stupid poetry that teachers caught in order to tear into pieces, for I was not doing my task, they said.

Oh Nature, Nature! Thou art life for me and I am thine, heart and soul!

I hate towns where manners are studied, words and looks conventional, smiles hypocritical, houses small and narrow; where the smoky air is but the breath of thousands of chimneys and thousands of persons.

Ah! that I could be a shepherd spending my days in jumping with my sheep and singing with the birds; and, in the evening when tired, I should lie under some tree and tune my shepherd’s pipe as David, when young, used to do in the romantic old fields of Beit-Sahour…

Above all, I love silence. Not the shy silence of ordinary mediocre natures, but that of beautiful, high souls… The silence, expressive and eloquent, that widens the eyes and makes the deep mysteries of the heart peep out from these windows of the mind; silence great and beautiful, that marks an important epoch in the inner life of the soul…

May Ziadeh

(1911)


I was also writing warm stupid poetry of my own.

I enjoy nature while outside and from inside looking outward: the many trees of many heights, blossoming and green, the sky, with radiant sun or cooling rain, the ocean, its sweeping tide and rhythmic turning…and of course, the silence May speaks of, which is to me, a silence made in part by satisfaction.

yesterday morning when i woke

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