Jean Follain
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104 French Jean Follain (1903–71) Landscape of a Child on His Way to the Place of the Regents This great liquid silence inhabiting the barrels these tiny insects trying in vain to devour the skin of virgins the wheelwrights drinking near the blue thistle the hornets making their white honey the bees distilling their blond honey the flashing cauldrons that are rubbed with wet ashes the sounds of the storm’s end the rank smoke of weeds burning in piles in box-hedged gardens and the portrait of a king on the kitchen wall and the clay and plaster in the damp kingdoms: All of it is the Messenger of an impossible dawn: there she is already at the top of the hill the widow leading by the hand to the distant school the child with the wild red hair. Black Meat Around stones called precious which only their own dust can wear down the eaters of venison carve in silence their black meat Jean Follain 105  the trees on the horizon imitate in outline a giant sentence. The School and Nature Drawn on the blackboard in the classroom in a town a circle remained intact and the teacher’s chair was deserted and the students had gone one sailing on the flood another plowing alone and the road went winding a bird letting fall the dark drops of its blood. W. S. Merwin, 1969 ...