from the Valdaarian
I hope that our friends were able to bring you this letter without danger and without delay. I desire to see your face and to hear your voice, but in exile one looses all that is dear and familiar: one's own house, the books, and his friends—it is very difficult. Yet if a man must be an exile, it is a pleasing enough place to be one. Wazzo is a most beautiful city. It is between two rivers, the Waz in the north, and the Ita to the west. Living in the desert it is not possible to understand how green is this city. With two rivers and much rain during the entire year (even the summer!) all is growing and flowering, sometimes it is too much, and embarrassment of riches.
Wazzo is called "The City of Fountains," it is true. Everywhere there are seen: grand fountains and small fountains, metal fountains and stone fountains (I even saw a wooden fountain!), fountains for bathing and fountains for watching. In short, there are more fountains in this city than in all of our country. One takes a stroll and hears the water sing joyously with every step. All, from the youthful to the aged are pleased by the fountains.
This exile regards the fountains through tears. At night I dream of the sun, of the heat, of the sand, and of the dust. They please me, these things, because they are from our desert. How beautiful they are for me.
However, it is time to end. I must go to the University, I teach a class of our language and culture—an exile must also eat. I will write another day.
Go in happiness,
P.S. I enclose also a small poem examining my thoughts. You will find it rather stark, it is in the Orathian style. It seems that when flowers are all about, poetry needs less.
The City of Fountains
I have no words for you
from our cautious language,
to capture this place and suspend it on paper.
this City of Fountains,
flows with open-faced calm voices
gliding toward one another
and rising warmly about all.
ever looking over its shoulder,
bound within the desert,
could only conceive this place
as a wild, distant, dream.
may I tell you of it,
this green and open place
where all speak kindness,
and I languish in exile?
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