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Translated by Wallace Fowlie

Very late, when he feels his stomach sicken,
Brother Milotus, an eye on the skylight
When the sun, bright as a scoured cooking-pan,
Darts a migrane at him and blinds his vision,
Moves his curate belly under the sheets.

He stirs about under his grey blanket
And gets out, his knees against his trembling belly,
Terrified like an old man who has eaten his snuff,
Because he has to lift up the folds of his nightshirt
Around his waist, as he takes the handle of a white chamberpot!

Now, he has squatted, cold, in his toes
Turned up, shivering in the bright sunlight which daubs
A cake yellow on the paper windowpanes;
And the old man's nose where the crimson catches fire
Sniffs in the rays like a flesh polypary.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The old man simmers on the fire, his arms twisted, his blubber lip
On his belly: he feels his thighs slipping into the fire,
And his pants getting scorched, and his pipe going out;
Something like a bird stirs a bit
In his serene bely like a pile of tripe!

Round about sleeps a mass of cowering furniture
In rags of grease and over dirty bellies;
Stools, strange toads, are hunched
In dark corners: cupboards have mouths of cantors:
Opened by a sleep full of horrible appetites.

The sickening heat fills the narrow room;
The old man's brain is stuffed with rags:
He listens to the hairs growing in his moist skin,
And, at times, in very seriously clownish hiccoughs
Escapes, shaking his rickety stool...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And in the evening, in the rays of moonlight which make
Droolings of light on the contours of his buttocks,
A shadow with details crouches, against a background
Of pink snow, like a hollyhock...
Fantastic, a nose pursues Venus in the deep sky.

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