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I The house near the sea* The houses I had they took away from me. The times happened to be unpropitious: war, destruction, exile; sometimes the hunter hits the migratory birds, sometimes he doesn't hit them. Hunting was good in my time, many felt the pellet; the rest circle aimlessly or go mad in the shelters. Don't talk to me about the nightingale nor the lark nor the little wagtail inscribing figures with his tail in the light; I don't know much about houses I know they have their own nature, nothing else. New at first, like babies who play in gardens with the tassels of the sun, they embroider colored shutters and shining doors over the day. When the architect's finished, they change, they frown or smile or even grow stubborn with those who stayed behind, with those who went away with others who'd come back if they could or others who disappeared, now that the world's become a limitless hotel. I don't know much about houses, I remember their joy and their sorrow 165 sometimes, when I stop to think; again sometimes, near the sea, in naked rooms with a single iron bed and nothing of my own watching the evening spider, I imagine that someone is getting ready to come, that they dress him up* in white and black robes, with many-colored jewels, and around him venerable ladies, gray hair and dark lace shawls, talk softly, that he is getting ready to come and say goodbye to me; or that a woman—eyelashes curled, high-girdled, returning from southern ports, Smyrna Rhodes Syracuse Alexandria, from cities closed like hot shutters, with perfume of golden fruit and herbs— climbs the stairs without seeing those who've fallen asleep under the stairs. Houses, you know, grow stubborn easily when you strip them bare. 166 ...


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