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Olive trees
Today what I would like my verse to gather
This is the unique delicacy of your leaves.
Gray under the sun, don’t you believe, these leaves,
That they tried to turn green in the spring,
Then, as summer came, indolent and scorching,
Laziness took them in the middle of the road,
And this is how, more Provençal than all
We saw them fall asleep one day, half-colored.
And they still would say, in the great heat,
May the dust of the road, light and frail,
Came to freeze, whole, on them
Unless it is, like a subtle pollen,
They who, relentlessly, and since each
April Distilled this dust on the way.

Their wood, as if rotten, sometimes sounds like a void;
Their branches are twisted and their fruits are bitter;
They seem needy, tenacious, dry, greedy …

It is not in vain that, throughout the summer,
The withered trees toiled in the downpour
Frightful days scorching with pleasure.

In the months when the hard and feverish ground crumbles,
While under the heavens everything seemed to doze off,
They, by a marvelous, by a subtle trade,

Pale with such effort, twisted with such desire,
Despising of gardens the customary sweetness,
Tenacious, composing a magical elixir

With the water of the rock and the juice of the stone,
They took, kidnappers, sacred elements,
To the Earth its blood, to the Sun its light.

Because tomorrow, crushing under the golden presses,
The bitter berries, whose pulp is dripping,
The man will run off the oil with the amber highlights.

Poem from the collection “La terre des lauriers” 1912


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