Nina’s Replies

Nina’s Replies

He:
your breast on my breast, eh?

We could go, with our nostrils full of air,

into the cool light of the blue good morning

that bathes you in the wine of daylight? ..

When the whole shivering wood bleeds,

dumb with love, from every branch green drops, pale buds,

you can feel in things unclosing the quivering flesh:

you would bury in the Lucerne your white gown,

changing to rose-colour in the fresh air

the blue tint which encircles your great black eye,

in love with the country, scattering everywhere,

like champagne bubbles, your crazy laughter:

laughing at me, suddenly, drunkenly –

I should catch you like this – lovely hair, ah! –

I should drink in your taste of raspberry and strawberry, oh flower-flesh!

Laughing at the fresh wind kissing you like a thief,

at the wild rose teasing you pleasantly:

laughing more than anything, oh madcap, at your lover!…

(Seventeen! You’ll be so happy! Oh the big meadows!

The wide loving countryside! – Listen, come closer!)

Your breast on my breast, mingling our voices,

slowly we’d reach the stream; then the great woods!…

Then, like a little ghost, your heart fainting,

you’d tell me to carry you, your eyes half closed

I’d carry your quivering body along the path:

the bird would spin out his andante:

Hard by the hazel tree.. I’d speak into your mouth;

and go on, pressing your body like a little girl’s

I was putting to bed, drunk with the blood that runs blue

under your white skin with its tints of rose:

and speaking to you in that frank tongue..

There!… that you understand

Our great woods would smell of sap,

and the sunlight would dust with fine gold

their great green and bronze dream.

In the evening?  We’d take the white road which meanders,

like a grazing herd, all over the place

Oh pleasant orchards with blue grass and twisted apple trees!

How you can smell a whole league off their strong perfume!

We’d get back to the village when the sky was half dark;

and there’d be a smell of milking in the evening air;

it would smell of the cowshed full of manure,

filled with the slow rhythm of breathing,

and with great backs gleaming under some light or other;

and right down at the far end there’d be a cow dunging

proudly at every step – Grandmother’s spectacles

and her long nose deep in her missal;

the jug of beer circled with pewter foaming among

the big-bowled pipes gallantly smoking:

and the frightful blubber lips which, still puffing,

snatch ham from forks: so much, and more:

the fire lighting up the bunks and the cupboards.

The shining fat buttocks of the fat baby

on his hands and knees who nuzzles into the cups;

his white snout tickled by a gently growling

muzzle that licks all over the round face of the little darling

(Black and haughty on her chair’s edge,

a terrifying profile, an old woman in front of the embers, spinning)

What sights we shall see, dearest, in those hovels,

when the bright fire lights up the grey window panes!…

– And then, small and nestling right inside the cool dark lilacs:

the hidden window smiling in there

You’ll come! You will come! I love you so! It will be lovely.

You will come, won’t you? And even

She: – And what about my office?

August 15,
1870