The Mole

Today, from her dark and humid lairChildren have hoed a mole bare… Soft body, cool as the soilFaint gloss, like the hair of the deadIn front of them, she stilled in awful dread,She didn’t look, she didn’t screamBut, out of fear,She crouched and shed a tear. And trying to avoid the dangerBlind and awkward and in impasseShe stumbled through chrysanthemums And tufts of grass so neatClumsily dragging her clawed feet In mazes under black mole-hillsShe couldn’t sense the blowing of the windNor how o’er fields of wheat it sends its chillsNot even how, through clouds, the sun drillsIts beams like shiny rills To drops of rain adding frills … She knows no song, no colourBut, digging ceaselessly the groundIn her protective and dark hourShe digs her tunnels with great ardour Master and slave, in search of harbourSheltered from the cruel sunDigging ‘till her work is doneBeing always on the run. The children clapped their hands and laughedThe cruel laugh of innocence.But, in search of peaceful place to stayThrough clods of earth, she fought her way,And to her, the morning’s brutal lightWas menacing and much too bright. She then crept backIn her now ruined shelterThey laughed, the children, and away they wentThey didn’t dare torment her moreOr touch the faint gloss of her fur Tomorrow, in the orchard, as beforeAnother mole-hill will be thereAnd as they stare at yet another of her chores Of soil casts rising in the airChildren will hear down in the darkA muffled noise of struggle and hard workCeaseless, monotonous, obscure. Translated by Maria Bebis

by Otilia Cazimir (1894-1967)