Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE APPROACH OF WINTER, by JULES LAFORGUE

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THE APPROACH OF WINTER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Blockade of the senses. Mail steamers from the levant
Last Line: In chorus I will try to give it its note.
Subject(s): Winter

Blockade of the senses! Mail steamers from the Levant! . . .
O downpour of rain! O downpour of night,
O! the wind! . . .
All Hallow's Eve, Christmas, and the New Year,
Oh, in the drizzling, all my chimneys! . . .
Of factories . . .

It is impossible to sit down any more, all the benches are wet;
Believe me, everything is over until next year,
All the benches are wet, the woods are so rusted,
And the horns have so many times sounded your note, your sound of ton and
taine! . . .

Ah! storm clouds flocking here from the shores of the Channel,
You have spoiled us our last Sunday.

It drizzles;
In the wet forest, spider webs
Bend under the drops of water, and it is their ruin.

Plenipotentiary suns from the washing of golden riversands,
From country fairs,
Where are you buried?
This evening a squandered sun lies helpless at the top of the slope,
Lies on the hillside, in the broom, on his cloak.
A sun white as spittle on a barroom floor
Lies in a litter of yellow broom,
The yellow broom-flowers of autumn.
And the horns call him!
May he come back . . .
May he come to himself again!
Tallyho! Tallyho! and the hunting horn at the kill!
O sad anthem, have you ended! . . . And they play the fool! . . .
And he lies there, the sun, like a gland torn out of a neck,
And he shivers, without a friend! . . .

Forward, forward, and the horn at the kill!
It is well-known Winter blowing in;
Oh! the turnings, the bends of the highroads,
And without Little Red Ridinghood making her way! . . .
Oh! their ruts from the wagons of another month,
Ascending like quixotic rails
Towards the patrols of fleeing storm clouds
Which the wind knocks towards the transatlantic sheepfolds!
. . .
Let us hasten, hasten, it is the well-known season, this time,
And the wind, this night, he has made beautiful clouds!
O havoc, O nests, O modest little gardens!
My heart and my drowsiness: o echoes of hatchets! . . .

All these branches still have their green leaves,
The underbrush is now nothing but a dung heap of dead leaves;
Leaves, leaflets, may a fair wind carry you away
In swarms toward the ponds,
Or for the gamekeeper's fire,
Or for the mattresses of ambulances
For soldiers far from France.
It is the season, it is the season, rust overruns the masses,
Rust gnaws in their kilometric spleens
The telegraphic wires on the highroads where no one passes.

The horns, the horns, the horns-melancholic! . . .
Melancholic! . . .
They depart, changing their tone,
Changing their tone and their music,
Your note, your sound of ton and taine and ton! . . .
The horns, the horns, the horns! . . .
Have departed with the north wind.

I cannot leave, this tone: such echoes! . . .
It is the season, it is the season, the grape harvest is over! . . .
Here come the rains with their angel's patience,
The business is over and done with, adieu grape harvests and all the baskets,
All the Watteau baskets of the peasant dances under the chestnut trees,
It is the coughing in high-school dormitories which returns,
It is herb tea without a hearth, far from home,
Pulmonary consumption saddening the neighborhood,
And all the misery concentrated in great cities.

But, woolens, rubber overshoes, pharmacy, dream,
Parted curtains on blaconies high up above the riverbanks
Facing the sea of roofs of the quarters of the city,
Lamps, engravings, tea, petits fours,
Will you not be my only amours! . . .
(Oh! and then, are you versed in, besides the pianos,
The sober and vespertine weekly mystery
Of the sanitation statistics
In the newspapers?)

No, no! it is the season and the planet is curiously quaint!
May the south wind, may the south wind
Ravel out the old shoes which time runs off with!
It is the season, oh rending! it is the season!
Every year, every year,
In chorus I will try to give it its note.

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