REFERENDUM - John Donne Poems

 
 

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REFERENDUM

with sincere apologies to Gilles Vigneault

Of course, you want your country
to be one long season,
when snow hides the dark mud,
when nothing moves and nothing grows,
when the white sky and white land agree
to dissolve the horizon à la lointaine, and one
can judge no distances.

The treachery of spring, when the land
changes colours, the leaves are turncoats,
and the rippling fields
are stripped of their sheets
and wait to be stained with seed.

You are waiting for another winter,
when the fleur-de-lys' white petals
will cover the earth in a garden of snow,
the cold air will remain cloudless,
free of the visible breath of spoken h's,
and your swallowed aspirations
will take root in your body and grow
out of your mouth, watered by a clean tongue.

Ton pays est une frontière
ineffaceable, une cicatrice dans la terre,
dont la terre ne se gêne pas
parce qu'elle est portée
sous un manteau de castor, sous une ceinture
flechée.

Here, what have I proven? All depends
on where you're coming from.

My country is not your country of snow.
Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est ma peau.