877. Men Trees, by Juan Ramón Jiménez

     Yesterday evening
I returned with the clouds
drifting under the rosebushes
(great, round tenderness)
among the faithful tree trunks.

     The solitude was eternal
and the silence never-ending.
I stood still like a tree
and listened to the trees talking.

     Only the bird took flight
from such a secret place,
I alone could stand there
among the last of the roses.

     I did not wish to become
myself again, fearing
to displease, being different,
the trees that were alike.

     The trees finally forgot
my shape of wandering man,
and I, my shape forgotten,
heard the talking of the trees.

     I delayed until star-rise.
In a flight of softened light,
I began edging away,
with the moon now in the air.

     When I was almost outside,
I saw the trees look at me.
They realized everything
and it grieved me to leave them.

     And I could hear them talking,
among mother-of-pearl clouds,
in a soft murmur, about me.
How could I undeceive them?

     Tell them that it was not so,
that I was only a passer-by,
that they must not talk to me?
I did not want to betray them.

     And quite late, yesterday evening,
I heard the trees talk to me.

(trans Eloise Roach)

Source: Three Hundred Poems 1903-1953