Francis Jammes


The Cricket's Song


Last night the cricket sang when all was still.
I cannot tell you what he sang about.
His singing made the darkness thicker still.
The sad flame of my candle lengthened out.

Well, in the end I had to go to bed,
Telling myself with heavy heart that I
Should ne'er be happier than in days gone by,
And that this song was I, and nothing else.

Child, listen to the cricket's chirping. Thou
Hast nothing save this song to comfort thee.
But understand how deep it is, and how
It fills the heart's dark valley utterly.

Man's pain grows still in the night's silences.
Only the baker-cricket thrills thee through.
Is it a faint complaint to God? And is
The cricket's the one voice God listens to?

Hark what he sings. He sings our hard-earned bread,
And in the bitter ashes the cracked pot.
The dog asleep. The housekeeper abed.
Something sad, good, and pure, I know not what.

He says he is my friend. He says, besides,
My farmer wed his bride the other day,
And that the farm was full of love, the bride's
Heart like a blossom-scented cherry-spray.

He says that to the wedding I was fetched,
And that with solemn slowness this young pair
Showed me their room and open bride-bed where
The youngest sister of the bride was stretched.

The wedding-guests have danced and gone away.
The wife lies where her younger sister lay.
The joy is simple in the hallowed bed.
The clock and cricket in the silence wed.

Submitted: Thursday, November 08, 2012

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