We present this work in honor of the 75th anniversary of the poet’s death.
I love to go down into the town at the hour when the sky lies close against the horizon like a vast whale. It sinks down into the heart of the street like a worker into his ditch. The bell has swung before the windows and the panes are lit up. It is as though all the eyes of the evening were filled with tears. In an opal the lamps and the day wrestle gently with each other. The advertising signs write to each other, spreading themselves in letters of lava across the face of the buildings. The rope dancers stride over the abyss. A great long legged spider spins its web from the hooks of a bush full of flowers. An acrobat climbs up and throws himself down. Shipwrecked sailors signal foreign vessels. The houses advance like the prows of galleys with all their portholes blazing. Man runs between their golden flames like a waif in a harbor.
Dark and streaming the autos arrive from everywhere, like sharks to the quarry of a great shipwreck, blind to the fulgurant signals of men.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday.
It was in the middle of our tragedy And all the long day sitting at her glass She combed her bright gold hair. To me it was As though her calm hands quieted a blaze. It was in the middle of our tragic days.
And all day long sitting before her glass She combed her bright gold hair as one who plays In the very middle of our tragedy A golden harp without belief, to pass The long hours, sitting all day at her glass.
She combed her bright gold hair and seemed to be Martyrizing at will her memory All the long day while sitting at her glass, Reviving still the spent flowers of the blaze, Not speaking as would another in her place.
She martyrized at will her memory It was in the middle of our tragic days Her dark glass was the world’s facsimile Her comb, parting the fires of that silken mass, Lit up the corners of my memory.
In the very middle of our tragic days As Thursday is in the middle of the week And sitting there before her memory She saw within the glass (but did not speak)
One by one the actors of our tragedy Dying, whom most in this dark world we praise
I need not call their names You know what memory Burns on the hearth of these declining days
And in her golden hair when she sits there And combs in silence the reflected blaze.
Angels, Thrones and Dominations, Principalities, Archangels, Cherubim, Bow to the lower regions With Virtues, Potestés, Seraphim, Fly through high crystalline skies To decorate the triumphant entrance And the most worthy adored birth, The holy concept by mysteres tres haults Of that Virgin, where all grace abounds, Decree by dits imperiaulx The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
Give sermons and sermons, Devout Carmelites, Cordeliers, Augustins; From the holy concept wear relationships, Caldeyens, Hebrieux and Latins; Romanians, sing on the Palatine Hills That Jouachim Saincte Anne met, And that by eulx is administered to us Ceste Virgo without love conjugaulx That God created of fruitful pleasure, Without feeling any original defects, The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
His honest beautiful receptions Of soul and body in the beautiful places of the intestines Have transcended all conceptions Personal, by divine mysteries. Because to feed Jesus with his painful breasts God always has him without a maculle monster, Declaring it by right and ultree law: All beautiful for the all beautiful of the beautiful, All clergy, nect, modest and world, All pure above all bladders, The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
Muses, come in jubilations And transmigrate your crystal-clear streams, Come, Aurora, by lucidations, Precursing the beautiful morning days; Come, Orpheus, sound harp and clarins, Come, Amphion, from the beautiful country, Come, Music, pleasantly acoustrée, Come on, Royne Hester, adorned with joyaulx, Come, Judith, Rachel and Florimonde, Accompanied by special honors The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
Tres doulx zephirs, by sibilations Sow roses and roumarins everywhere, Nimphes, stop your floods, Marine stigieulx and carybd places; Ring horns, viols, stools; May my mistress, the honored Virgin Either from everyone in all places decorated Come, Apolo, play the blowpipes, Ring, Panna, so hault that everything redundant, Collapse all in generaulx terms The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
Devoted spirits, faithful and loyal, In paradise, beautiful mansions and chasteins, To the pleasure God, the Virgin for us founds Or see her in her Royaulx palaces, The most beautiful that ever was in the world.
The banner of your body floats in the Brandenburg wind. An old woman wants to come in, I can see her through the door, her red felt hand pressing in vain on the latch, scraps of her cries come at me like the barbaric song of a violin mending the night; I’m going to slip a rose under the door a black-blooded rose, maybe she’ll go away? And I could wallow in the bramble hammock but her voice hiccups: Ophelia My name is Ophelia, open the door, O-phe-lia… —What do I care about her grotesque distortions What lie will she bring me? Why doesn’t she extend it to me through the sheets of sand the way she extends her name… Ophelia Ophelia, her shadow ricochets in the aura of my dusk. Ophelia, her voice grates like a leper’s rattle, philia, figlia…
Old with a young heart, witty, kind, whose mind, dipped in much honey with now gall, imparted nothing bitter in your whole life. Nepotianus, comfort to my heart, partaking as much in games as serious work: when silent, you’d outdo Amyclas in speechlessness: Ulysses—who left the Sirens singing their enchantments— could not leave you when you were talking: honest and modest, moderate, thrifty, abstemious, eloquent, in style yielding place to no orator: debater approaching the Stoic Cleanthes: knowing well by heart Scaurus and Probus, your memory greater than Cineas’s of Epirus: friend table-companion and frequent guest— too seldom, for you stimulated my mind. No one gave counsel with so pure a heart or hid confidences with deeper secrecy. With the honor of an illustrious governorship conferred, having lived through the changes of ninety years, leaving two children, you meet your death, with much grief to your family, as to me.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 220th birthday.
Tomorrow, at dawn, when the countryside brightens, I will depart. You see, I know that you wait for me. I will go through the wood, I will go past the mountains. I cannot remain far from you any longer.
I will walk, eyes set upon my thoughts, Seeing nothing around me and hearing no sound, Alone, unknown, back bent, hands crossed, Sorrowful, and for me, day will be as night.
I will not watch the evening gold fall, Nor the distant sails going down to Harfleur, And, when I arrive, I will put on your grave A bouquet of green holly and heather in bloom.