Saturday Night In The Village
The girl comes from the fields, at sunset,
carrying her sheaf of grass: in her fingers
a bunch of violets and roses:
she’s ready, as before,
to wreathe her hair and bodice,
for tomorrow’s holiday.
The old woman sits spinning,
facing the dying sunlight,
on the stairway, with her neighbours,
telling the tale of her own young days,
when she dressed for the festival,
and still slim and lovely,
danced all evening, with those young
boys, companions of her fairer season.
Already the whole sky darkens,
the air turns deep blue: already
shadows of hills and roofs return,
on the young moon’s pale rising.
Now the bells are witness
to the coming holiday:
you would say the heart
might take comfort from the sound.
A gang of little boys
shout in the tiny square,
leaping here and there,
making a happy din:
and the farmhand, whistling,
returns for his simple meal,
dreams of his day of rest.
When the other lights are quenched, all round,
and everything else is silent,
I hear the hammer ringing, I hear
the carpenter sawing: he’s still awake
in the lamplight, in his shut workshop,
hurrying and straining,
to finish his task before dawn.
This is the best of the seven days,
full of hope and joy:
tomorrow the hours will bring
anxiety and sadness, and make each
turn, in thought, to their accustomed toil.
your life’s sweet flowering
is like this day of gladness,
a clear day, unclouded,
that heralds life’s festival.
Enjoy the sweet hour, my child,
this pleasant, delightful season.
I’ll say nothing, more: let it not grieve you
if your holiday, like mine, is slow to arrive.