Provinvia Deserta

At Rochecoart,
Where the hills part
In three ways,
And three valleys, full of winding roads,
Fork out to south and north,
There is a place of trees ...grey with lichen.
I have walked there
Thinking of old days.
At Chalais
Is a pleached arbour;
Old pensioners and old protected women
Have a right there -
It is charity.

I have crept over old rafters,
Peering down
Over the Dronne,
Over a stream full of lilies.
Eastward the road lies,
Aubeterre is eastward,
With a garrulous old man at the inn.
I know the roads in that place:
Mareuil to the north-east,
La Tour,
There are three keeps near Mareuil,
And an old woman,
Glad to hear Arnaut,
Glad to lend one dry clothing.

I have walked
Into Perigord,
I have seen torch-flames, high-leaping,
Painting the front of that church;
Heard, under the dark, whirling laughter.
I have looked back over the stream
And seen the high building,
Seen the long minarets, the white shafts.
I have gone to Ribeyrac
I have climbed rickety stairs, heard talk of Croy,
Walked over En Bertran´s old layout,
Have seen Narbonne, and Cahors and Chalus,
Have seen Excideuil, carefully fashioned.

I have said:
´Here such a one walked.
Here Coeur de Lion was slain.
Here one man hastened his step.
Here one lay panting.´
I have looked south from Hautefort,
Thinking of Montaignac, southward.
I have lain in Rocafixada,
Level with sunset,
Have seen the copper come down
Tingeing the mountains,
I have seen the fields, pale, clear as an emerald,
Sharp peaks, high spurs, distant castles.
I have said: ´The old roads have lain here.
Men have gone by such and such valleys
Where the great halls were closer together.´
I have seen Foix on its rock, seen Toulouse, and
Arles greatly altered,
I have seen the ruined Dorata´.
I have said:
´Riquier! Guido.´
I have thought of the second Troy,
Some little prized place in Auvergnat:
Two men tossing a coin, one keeping a castle,
One set on the highway to sing.
He sang a woman.
Auvergne rose to the song;
The Dauphin backed him.
´The castle to Austors´
´Pieire kept the singing...
A fair man and a pleasant.´
He won the lady,
Stole her away for himself, kept her against armed force:
So ends that story.
That age is gone;
Pieire de Maensac is gone.
I have walked over these roads;
I have thought of them living.

(Ezra Pound)