(translation of “Nuit de Neige” by Guy de Maupassant)
The great plain is white, immobile and speechless.
Not a noise, not a sound; every life seems dead.
But one hears sometimes, like a doleful moan,
Some homeless dog which yells in the corner of a wood.
No more songs in the air, under our feet no more stubble.
The winter has destroyed every bloom.
Stripped trees erect on the horizon
Their skeletons bleached like ghosts.
The moon is large and pale and seems to hurry.
It looks like she’s cold in the vast austere sky.
She runs her gloomy look over the land,
And, seeing everywhere desert, she hastens to leave us.
And on us fall the cold rays she shoots forth,
Fantastic glimmers that she sows while going;
And the snow brightens far away, sinisterly,
With strange reflections of the pale light.
Oh! Terrible night for the small birds!
A cold wind shudders and runs by the aisles;
They, not having anymore the umbrous haven of cradles,
Cannot sleep on their frozen legs.
In the huge naked trees that the black ice covers
They are here, all shaking, unprotected;
With their worried eye they are watching the snow,
Waiting until day for the night which does not come.
Its small eyes filled with blackness
made the night dance in me,
as the dogs howled in the white plain.
Its broken legs seem to hurry
into lifelessness as it pedaled upside
down on the blue glass table.
Sad, I watched it twist
like a carousel about to stop.
Its reed-like antennae
faltered and lingered and whirred
with the sound of doom
like a black baton
too heavy for its conductor.
Belly ominously panting
its wings remained stuck
to the glass till the beautiful day.
TRAPPED IN A PEANUT COFFIN
In an old graveyard
in a coffin, peanut-flavored death,
the heart too frail to find solutions,
I savor stale slices of hope,
my vision blinking in guilt. I
watch spiritual scenes in my mind’s
foretaste of afterlife.
Perturbed with a wife
praying on young knees, I try
to swear in my mother tongue
but make sounds of a faraway father.
Punching the ceiling
that rebels and coaxes numbness
into my fists
I aggravate the situation by
releasing a handful of mementoes,
with them rolling everywhere
and I chasing with the slick legs
of a panther along an infinite avenue.
Aged 28, Amit Parmessur is from Mauritius. He has been published in around 75 magazines since starting to submit his poems late 2010. Dead Snakes, LITSNACK, Heavy Hands Ink, Leaf Garden Press and The Houston Literary Review are some of the places where he has appeared. He currently edits The Rainbow Rose at http://therainbowroseezine.blogspot.com/.