Oh, I can relate a tale right here, make myself
a map of miseries & trek right across.
I can say as much as you like —
how many gut-wretched nights ground over me
once I was a full-grown woman,
from early days to later nights,
never ever any more than right now. (1–4)
When is it never a struggle, a torment,
this arc of misfortune, mine alone?
It started when my man up and left,
who knows where, from his tribe
across the sleeplessness of waves.
I conceived a care at the dawning of dawn:
where did that man of a man go? (5–8)
Then I ferried myself forth, trying to dole
my part of the deal, a wretch drained of friends,
out a trembling need inside me. (9–10)
So it begins: his family starts scheming
moling up mountains of secret malice
to delve into our division,
make us survive along the widest wound of us —
could they be any more loathsome? —
and I became a longing inside. (11–14)
My love said to shack up in shadowy groves.
I was light in loved ones anyways in these lands,
in the loyalties of allegiance.
Therefore my brain brims with bitterness,
when I had located my likeness in him,
blessed with hard luck, heart-hollow,
painting over his intentions,
plotting the greatest of heists. (15–20)
Masked content, so many times
we swore that nothing but finality itself
could shave us in two, not them, not nothing.
The pivot was not long in coming,
it’s like, what did I hear a poet say once?
“as if it never was…”
that was our partnership. (21–25a)
Must I flag on flogging through feud,
far & near, of my many-beloved?
He was the one who said I should
go live in the woods or something,
sit under an oak-tree, in a gravel pit.
Let’s make it an earthen hall, musty & old,
where I’m all foreaten with longing:
Dales deep darkly, hills hedge me round,
fortresses of sharpness, bramble biting —
can a home be devoid of joy? (25b–32a)
For too many watches the wrathful from-ways
of my lord grabbed hold of me in this place.
Who could I count on? Buried.
Loved in their lives —
all they care about now are their beds. (32b–34)
Then I, when dawn still rumbles,
I wander the ways all alone,
under the oaks, around these graven walls.
There I can sit an endless summer day,
where I can rain me down for my wracking steps,
my collection of woes. So it goes —
never can I, in no wise, catch a break
from my cracking cares, nor this unfolding tear
that grasps me in this my entire life. (35–41)
The young should always keep their heart in check,
their inner kindlings cool, likewise
they must keep their faces frosty,
also the bubbling in their breast,
though crowded with swarming sorrows. (42–45a)
May all of his joys come at his own hand.
May his name be the name of infamy,
a snarl in faraway mouths, so that my good friend
will be sitting under a stony rain-break,
crusted by the gusty storms,
a man crushed at heart, flowing
in his own water, in his tearful timbering. (45b–50a)
That one, yeah, that man of mine
will drag his days under a mighty mind-caring.
He’ll remember every single morning
how full of pleasure was our home.
What woes are theirs who must
weather their worrying for love. (50b–53)