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I ARRIVED IN THAT TOWN ...

J.V. Foix

I ARRIVED IN THAT TOWN, EVERYONE GREETED ME AND I DIDN'T KNOW A SOUL: WHEN I WAS ABOUT TO READ MY VERSES, THE DEVIL, HIDING BEHIND A TREE, CALLED OUT TO ME SARCASTICALLY AND FILLED MY HANDS WITH NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS

What is this town called, with flowers in the belfry and a river with dark trees? Where I have left the keys...

Everyone says 'Good morning'. I am half naked; some of them kneel, another shakes my hand.

What's my name, I ask them. I look at my bare feet; in the shade of a barrel, a pool of blood grows light.

The cowherd gives me a book, I see myself in a stained glass window; I have a long beard,  what have I done with the apron?

What a crowd there is in the square! They must be waiting for me; as soon as I read them my verses, they all laugh and go away.

The bishop decorates me,by now the musicians have packed up, I would like to go home but I don't know the way.

If a girl were to kiss me... What is my trade? Now they are shutting the doors; who knows where the inn is!

On a piece of newspaper my picture stands out; the trees in the square say goodbye to me.

—What are they saying on the radio? I'm cold, I'm afraid, I'm hungry; I shall buy her a watch: what day is her Saint's Day!

I go off to the Old Fountain: They have taken away the benches; now I see the devil waiting for me round the corner.

[Prose translation] TERRY, Arthur. «Readings of J. V. Foix» A: TERRY, Arthur [ed.], Readings of J. V. Foix : An Anthology, Barcelona : The Anglo-Catalan Society ; Fundació J. V. Foix ; Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1998, p. 68 – 70.
Translated by Arthur Terry
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