La Cascade Saint-suzanne (Saint Suzanne Waterfall)
It was a peaceful place I loved to be. The cool vision haunts my memory. Enclosed by high hills on three sides, The valley opens west and descends to the sea. A waterfall bathes black rocks at its depths With crystalline waters, its specks of spray Scattering to the air in white muslins. At the foot of steep rocks, in its endless fall, Water drops and spreads out into a huge pool, Where the dreamy Saint-suzanne River With its great coconut-palm bowers, feeds And sleeps, the sun at its zenith beats down there; But, in the afternoon, the high-peaked mountains Pour down the coolness of a welcoming shade. Leaving the bank with its curtain of tall bamboos, The moorhens swim on the azure expanse; And, skimming past in flight, the quick swallow frolics In winged games around those blue swimmers. At the waves' edge, a few lazy oxen Wander free, and on the grassy bank Aimlessly trail their happy indifference. Further off, a white bull flecked with brown, Lying down in the brush, inhaling the rustic breeze, Eyes half-closed, ruminates and has a snooze. Up high, between roughly stacked stones, Bristling with cactus, loaded with vines, With sure and spirited foot that no abyss can halt, The nimble kabri climbs with capricious leaps. Suddenly, one sees it on the crest From which the waterfall's vertiginous waves drop, Standing against the sky in silhouette.
On the opposite bank, to the left of the ravine, The tranquil pond's water flows upon fine Sand bordered by a cool rim of fresh young grass and mosses. Here, the mountainsides have gentler slopes, And the fruit trees exposed to the sun Spread their bowers to woody inclines. Under the dark thickness of its strong branches The black trunk of the mango tree displays its ripe clusters; The guava-tree with white blossom and golden fruits;
With its crimson petals, the supple passionfruit; The sugar-apple and the loquat tree, picturesque arrangement, Mix their foliage in the same scent. The Virgin's blue bird with welcoming instincts, Harmless bird of the hospitable peaks Likes being in this mild and shady peace: Furtive, it watches and follows the steps of the traveler Who comes to these plateaus, to rest and ponder, To breathe the vast tranquility of the high places. From the ravine's slopes, from mountains, from dense forests, From every quarter an ineffable peace settles, The enveloping charm of a luminous silence, Of silence made of wingbeats and waters Passing through air, rising from reeds and rushes, And from shiny bamboo swayed by a light breeze.
O calm of the summits, calm of the firmament, Who pour appeasement into the troubled heart, Calm of deep woods where turtledove's faint cooing Mingles with the waters' song; O ravine, o cascade, o cradling murmur, Ambient sweetness of foliage and flowers; O repose emanating from things, chaste drunkenness Known in the past to my pensive adolescence When, trailing my dream among these remote granites, I listened to poetry singing in my heart; Solitude serene and worthy of the muse, Made of breeze and shadow and light diffuse; Floating visions of my distant land, Lovely places, o places so sweet to my happy dawn. Valley, tranquil pond loved by the swallow, That faithful memory evokes with ardor, Cradle in my mind so wounded by time The present's troubles in the past's calm!
—translated from the French by John Kinsella