Les Djinns (English translation)
From the verge
Of the flow
And they toll
Like a soul
With a glow.
The loudest sounds
Are like a sleigh—
An elf who bounds
And skins away.
He leaps and flows,
In rhythmic throes
Springs on his toes
Across the spray.
Echoes and entwines
Like the bells we hear
At accursed shrines.
Like a noisy crowd
Thundering and proud,
Sometimes it grows loud,
Sometimes it declines.
O God! the ghostly sound
Of Djinns!—and how they blare!
Quick! let’s escape around
The sunken spiral stair!
Oh, I have lost my light!
The shadow of the flight
Covers the wall—goes right
Up to the open air.
Swarm of Djinns are going past,
And they swirl and whirl and whine
Yew-trees, shattered by the blast,
Crackle like a blazing pine.
In a huddle, quick and wide,
Through the empty space they glide,
Like a pale cloud at whose side
Sudden bolts of lightning shine.
They are so close!—Let’s keep the place
Shut tight, and we’ll defy them all.
The noise out there! A dreadful race,
Vampires and dragons—how they bawl
And the broken roof-beam heaves
Sags like a mass of sodden leaves,
While the old rusty door-frame reaves
Its hinges, quaking, from the wall!
Infernal cries! voices that weep and roar!
The horrible swarm, driven by the gale,
Heavens! is surely beating at my door
The walls, before their black batallions, quail!
The bent house shudders with a hideous sound
As if it’s been uprooted from the ground
And some great wind is tossing it around
Like a dry leaf, so much they swirl and flail
Prophet, if your hand saves me now
From all these unclean friends of the night,
I shall prostrate my naked brow
Before your holy censers’ sight!
Ordain it that this faithful door
Withstands the blast of sparks they pour
And that in vain their wing and claw
On the dark windows shriek and smite!
They are past!—Their mighty ranks
Flee; no longer do their feet
Buffet on the door’s old planks
With a multifarious beat.
Sounds of schackles fill the sky;
Great oaks in the woods nearby
Wilt and waver, as they fly
Past with such a fiery heat!
The beatings of their wings
Distantly faint and fail—
Such far-off feeble things,
You’d think that in the vale
You heard grasshoppers stir
And purr their spindly purr,
Or that old lead roofs were
Spattered with sprays of hail.
Still they come and go,
Those strange murmurings;
So, when Arabs blow
Horn-calls, music sings
Out across the stream’s
While babes in the dreams
Dream of golden things.
Djinns of the tomb
Sons of the dead,
In the deep gloom
Quicken their tread,
And cry and keen:
So, from serene
Whispers are shed.
This dim knell
Is a wave
Of calm swell
In a cave,
Or the plaint,
Of a saint
At a grave.