L'enfance (Childhood)

L'enfant chantait; la mère au lit, exténuée,
Agonisait, beau front dans l'ombre se penchant ;
La mort au-dessus d'elle errait dans la nuée ;
Et j'écoutais ce râle, et j'entendais ce chant.

L'enfant avait cinq ans, et près de la fenêtre
Ses rires et ses jeux faisaient un charmant bruit ;
Et la mère, à côté de ce pauvre doux être
Qui chantait tout le jour, toussait toute la nuit.

La mère alla dormir sous les dalles du cloître ;
Et le petit enfant se remit à chanter...
La douleur est un fruit ; Dieu ne le fait pas croître
Sur la branche trop faible encor pour le porter.

Childhood

The Child was singing, and the Mother lay
Stretched on the bed which pain and anguish throng,
Death's cloud fast closing on her parting day:
I heard her laboring breath, I heard the song.

The Child its gambols by the lattice plied;
Its sport, its laughter, sounded glad and bright;
And the poor Mother by her darling's side,
Who sang all day, coughed through the painful night.

The Mother sleeps the cloister's stones below;
The Child sings, heedless of its orphan state:
Grief is a fruit that God forbids to grow
On boughs too feeble to support its weight.

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"L'enfance (Childhood)" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/37767/l'enfance-(childhood)>.

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