Heureux Qui, Comme Ulysse, A Fait Un Beau Voyage


Great joy be to the sailor if he chart
The Odyssey or bear away the Fleece
Yet unto wisdom's laurel and the peace
Of his own kind come lastly to his start.
And when shall I, being migrant, bring my heart
Home to its plots of parsley, its proper earth,
Pot hooks, cow dung, black chimney bricks whose worth
I have not skill to honor in my art.

My home, my father's and grandfather's home.
Not the imperial porphyry of Rome
But slate is my true stone, slate is my blue.
And bluer the Loire is to my reckoning
Than Caesar's Tiber, and more nourishing
Than salt spray is the breathing of Anjou.


                                    French; trans. Anthony Hecht


Joachim du Bellay, French, trans. Anthony Hecht, Collected Earlier Poems, 1990, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.