We present this work in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday.
It was in the middle of our tragedy
And all the long day sitting at her glass
She combed her bright gold hair. To me it was
As though her calm hands quieted a blaze.
It was in the middle of our tragic days.
And all day long sitting before her glass
She combed her bright gold hair as one who plays
In the very middle of our tragedy
A golden harp without belief, to pass
The long hours, sitting all day at her glass.
She combed her bright gold hair and seemed to be
Martyrizing at will her memory
All the long day while sitting at her glass,
Reviving still the spent flowers of the blaze,
Not speaking as would another in her place.
She martyrized at will her memory
It was in the middle of our tragic days
Her dark glass was the world’s facsimile
Her comb, parting the fires of that silken mass,
Lit up the corners of my memory.
In the very middle of our tragic days
As Thursday is in the middle of the week
And sitting there before her memory
She saw within the glass (but did not speak)
One by one the actors of our tragedy
Dying, whom most in this dark world we praise
I need not call their names You know what memory
Burns on the hearth of these declining days
And in her golden hair when she sits there
And combs in silence the reflected blaze.
Translation by George Dillon