Festivals of Endurance



May Banners

FR: Bannières de mai


In the bright lime-tree branches

Dies a fainting mort. But lively song

Flutters among the currant bushes.

So that our bloods may laugh in our veins,

See the vines tangling themselves.


The sky is as pretty as an angel,

The azure and the wave commune.

I go out. If a sunbeam wounds me

I shall succumb on the moss.


Being patient and being bored

Are too simple. To the devil with my cares.

I want dramatic summer

To bind me to its chariot of fortune.


Let me most because of you, o Nature, –

Ah ! less alone and less useless ! – die.

There where the Shepherds, it’s strange,

Die more or less because of the world.


I am willing that the seasons should wear me out.

To you, Nature, I surrender ;

With my hunger and all my thirst.

And, if it please you, feed and water me.


Nothing, nothing at all deceives me ;

To laugh at the sun is to laugh at one’s parents,

But I do not wish to laugh at anything ;

And may this misfortune go free.




Song of the Highest Tower

FR: Chanson de la plus haute tour


Let it come, let it come,

The season we can love!


I have waited so long,

That at length I forget,

And leave unto heaven,

My fear and regret;

A sick thirst

Darkens my veins.


Let it come, let it come, the season we can love!

So the green field,

To oblivion falls,

Overgrown, flowering,

With incense and weeds.


And the cruel noise,

Of dirty flies.

Let it come, let it come, the season we can love!

I loved the desert, burnt orchards,

tired old shops, warm drinks.


I dragged myself through stinking alleys,

and with my eyes closed I offered

myself to the sun, the god of fire.


“General: If on your ruined ramparts one cannon

still remains, shell us with clods of dried-up earth.

Shatter the mirrors of expensive shops!

And the drawing rooms! Make the city swallow its dust!

Turn gargoyles to rust.

Stuff boudoirs with rubies’ fiery powder….”


Oh, the little fly!

Drunk at the urinal of a country inn,

in love with rotting weeds;

a ray of light dissolves him!




FR: L’éternité


It has been found again.

What ? – Eternity.

It is the sea fled away

With the sun.


Sentinel soul,

Let us whisper the confession

Of the night full of nothingness

And the day on fire.


From human approbation,

From common urges

You diverge here

And fly off as you may.


Since from you alone,

Satiny embers,

Duty breathes

Without anyone saying : at last.


Here is no hope,

No orietur.

Knowledge and fortitude,

Torture is certain.


It has been found again.

What? – Eternity.

It is the sea fled away

With the sun.




Golden Age

FR: Âge d’or


One of the voices

Always angelic –

It is about me, –

Sharply expresses itself :


Those thousand questions

Spreading their roots Bring in the end,

Only drunkenness and madness ;

Understand this trick

So gay, so easy :


It is only wave, only flower,

And that is your family !

Then it sings.

O so gay, so easy,

And visible to the naked eye… –

I sing with it, –

Understand this trick

So gay, so easy :


It is only wave, only flower,

And that is your family !… etc…

And then a voice –

How angelic it is ! – It is about me,

Sharply expresses itself :


And sings at this moment

Like a sister to breath :

With a German tone,

But ardent and full :


The world is vicious ;

If that surprises you !

Live and leave to the fire

Dark misfortune.


O ! pretty castle !

How bright your life is !

What age do you belong to,

Princely nature Of our elder brother ! etc…


I also sing : Many sisters ! voices

Not at all public ! Surround me

With chaste glory… etc…




Young Couple

FR: Jeune ménage


The room is open to the turquoise blue sky;

no room here: boxes and bins!

Outside the wall is overgrown with birthwort

where the brownies’ gums buzz.


How truly there are the plots of genii –

this expense and this foolish untidiness!

It is the African fairy who supplies

the mulberry and the hairnets in the corners.


Several, cross godmothers [dressed] in skirts of light,

go into the cupboards, and stay there!

The people of the house are out,

they are not serious, an nothing gets done.


The bridegroom has the wind which cheats him

during his absence, here, all the time.

Even some water sprites, mischievous,

come in t wander about among the spheres under the bed.


At night, beloved oh!

The honeymoon will gather their smiles

and fill the sky with a thousand copper diadems.

Then they will have to deal with the crafty rat. –


As long as no ghastly will O;

the wisp comes, like a gunshot, after vespers, –

O holy white Sprits of Bethlehem, charm,

rather than that, the blueness of their window!

27 June 1872




FR: Bruxelles


Boulevard du Régent

Flowerbeds of amaranths right up to

The pleasant palace of Jupiter. –

I know it is Thou, who is this place,

Minglest thine almost Saharan Blue !


Then, since rose and fir-tree of the sun

And tropical creeper have their play enclosed here,

The little widow’s cage !…

What, Flocks of birds, o iaio, iaio !… –


Calm houses, old passions !

Summerhouse of the Lady who ran mad for love.

After the buttocks of the rosebushes,

the balcony Of Juliet, shadowy and very low. –


La Juliette, that reminds me of l’Henriette,

A charming railway station,

At the heart of a mountain, as if the bottom of an orchard

Where a thousand blue devils dance in the air !


Green bench where in stormy paradise,

The white Irish girl sings to the guitar.

Then, from the Guianian dining-room,

Chatter of children and of cages.


The duke’s window which makes me think

Of the poison of snails and of boxwood

Sleeping down here in the sun.

And then, It is too beautiful ! too ! Let us maintain our silence. –


Boulevard without movement or business,

Dumb, every drama and every comedy,

Unending concentration of scenes,

I know you and I admire you in silence.


– Is she an Almeh ?…

in the first blue hours

Will she destroy herself like flowers of fire…

In front of the splendid sweep where one may smell

The enormous flowering city’s breath !


It’s too beautiful ! It’s too beautiful ! but it is necessary –

For the Fisherwoman

and the Corsair’s song,

And also because the last masqueraders still believed

In nocturnal festivities on the pure sea !




Feasts of Hunger

FR: Fêtes de la faim


My hunger, Anne, Anne, flee on your donkey.

If I have any taste, it s for hardly anything

but earth and stones.

Dinn! Dinn! Dinn! Dinn!


Let us eat air, rock, coal, iron.

Turn, my hungers.

Feed, hungers, in the meadow of sounds!


Suck the gaudy poison of the convolvuli;

Eat, the stones a poor man breaks,

the old masonry of churches, boulders,

children of floods, loaves lying in the grey valleys!


Hungers, it is bits of black air; the azure trumpeter;

it is my stomach that makes me suffer.

It is unhappiness. Leaves have appeared on earth!


I go looking for the sleepy flesh of fruit.

At the heart of the furrow I pick

Venus’ looking-glass and the violet.

My hunger, Anne, Anne, flee on your donkey.

August 1872




FR: Honte


So long as the blade has not

Cut off that brain,

That white, green and fatty parcel,

Whose steam is never fresh,

Ah ! He, should cut off his

Nose, his lips, his ears,

His belly ! And abandon

But no, truly, I believe that so long as

The blade to his head,

And the stone to his side,

And the flame to his guts

Have not done execution, the tiresome

Child, the so stupid animal,

Must never for an instant cease

To cheat and betray

And like a Rocky Mountain cat ;

To make all places stink !

But still when he dies,

O my God !

May there rise up some prayer !