I have kissed the summer dawn.
Before the palaces,
The water lay dead.
Battalions of shadows
still kept the forest road.
I walked, walking warm
and vital breath,
While stones watched,
and wings rose soundlessly.
My first adventure,
in a path already gleaming
With a clear pale light,
Was a flower who told me its name.
I laughed at the blond Waterfall.
That threw its hair across
the pines: On the silvered summit,
I came upon the goddess.
Then one by one, I lifted her veils.
In the long walk, waving my arms.
Across the meadow, where
I betrayed her to the cock.
In the heart of town she fled
among the steeples and domes,
And I hunted her, scrambling
like a beggar on marble wharves.
Above the road, near a thicket of laurel,
I caught her in her gathered veils,
And smelled the scent of her immense body.
Dawn and the child fell together
at the bottom of the wood.
When I awoke, it was noon..
From a golden step,– among silk cords,
green velvets, gray gauzes,
and crystal disks that
turn black as bronze in the sun,
I see the digitalis opening
on a carpet of silver filigree,
of eyes and hair. Yellow gold-pieces
strewn over agate, mahogany columns supporting
emerald domes, bouquets of white satin
and delicate sprays of rubies,
surround the water-rose.
Like a god with huge blue eyes and limbs of snow,
the sea and sky lure to the marble terraces
the throng of roses, young and strong.
A breath opens operatic breaches
in the walls,– blurs the pivoting of crumbling roofs,–
disperses the boundaries
of hearths,– eclipses the windows.
Along the vine, having rested my foot on a waterspout,
I climbed down into this coach,
its period indicated clearly enough
by the convex panes of glass,
the bulging panels, the contorted sofas.
Isolated hearse of my sleep,
shepherd’s house of my insanity,
the vehicle veers on the grass
of the obliterated highway:
and in the defect at the top
of the right-hand windowpane
revolve pale lunar figures, leaves, and breasts. —
A very deep green and blue invade the picture.
Unhitching near a spot of gravel. —
Here will they whistle for the storm,
and the Sodoms and Solymas,
and the wild beasts and the armies,
(Postilion and animals of dream,
will they begin again in the stifling
forests to plunge me up to my eyes
in the silken spring?)
And, whipped through the splashing of waters
and spilled drinks, send us rolling
on the barking of bulldogs…
–A breath disperses
the boundaries of the hearth.
Chariots of copper and of silver
– Prows of silver and steel
– Thresh upon the foam,
– Upheavals the stumps and brambles.
The currents of the heath,
And the enormous ruts of the ebb,
Flow circularly toward the east,
Toward the pillars of the forest,
– Toward the boles of the jetty,
Against whose edge whirlwinds of light collide.
The cascade resounds behind operetta huts.
Fireworks prolong, through the orchards
and avenues near the Meander,–
the greens and reds of the setting sun.
Horace nymphs with First Empire headdresses,–
Siberian rounds and Boucher’s Chinese ladies.
Is it possible that
She will have me forgiven for ambitions continually crushed,–
that an affluent end will make up for the ages of indigence,–
that a day of success will lull us to sleep on the
shame of our fatal incompetence?
(O palms! diamond!– Love! strength!
– higher than all joys and all fame!–
in any case, everywhere– demon, god,
– Youth of this being: myself!)
That the accidents of scientific wonders
and the movements of social brotherhood
will be cherished as the progressive
restitution of our original freedom?…
But the Vampire who makes us behave
orders us to enjoy ourselves
with what she leaves us, or in other
words to be more amusing.
Rolled in our wounds through the wearing air and the sea;
in torments through the silence of the murderous waters and air;
in tortures that laugh in the terrible surge of their silence.
From the indigo straits to Ossian’s seas,
on pink and orange sands washed by the vinous sky,
crystal boulevards have just risen and crossed,
immediately occupied by poor young families
who get their food at the greengrocers’.
Nothing rich.– The city! From the bituminous desert,
in headlong flight with the sheets of fog spread
in frightful bands across the sky,
that bends, recedes, descends,
formed by the most sinister black smoke
that Ocean in mourning can produce,
flee helmets, wheels, boats, rumps.–
The battle! Raise your eyes: that arched wooden bridge;
those last truck gardens of Samaria; those faces reddened
by the lantern lashed by the cold night;
silly Undine in her noisy dress, down by the river;
those luminous skulls among the rows of peas,–
and all the other phantasmagoria– the country.
Roads bordered by walls and iron fences
that with difficulty hold back their groves,
and frightful flowers probably called loves and doves,
Damask damning languorously,– possessions of magic
aristocracies ultra-Rhinish, Japanese, Guaranian,
still qualified to receive ancestral music– and there are inns
that now never open anymore,–
there are princesses, and if you are not too overwhelmed,
the study of the stars– the sky.
The morning when with Her you struggled among
the glittering of snow, those green lips,
those glaciers, black banners and blue beams,
and the purple perfumes of the polar sun.– Your strength.
Long after the days and the seasons, and people and countries.
The banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;
(they do not exist). Recovered from the old fanfares of heroism,–
which still attack the heart and head,– far from the old assassins.
— Oh! the banner of raw meat against the silk of seas and arctic flowers;
(they do not exist).– Bliss! Live embers raining in gusts of frost.–
Bliss!– fires in the rain of the wind of diamonds
flung out by the earth’s heart eternally carbonized for us.
— O world! (Far from the old retreats and the old flames,
still heard, still felt.) Fire and foam. Magic, veering of
chasms and clash of icicles against the stars.
O bliss, O world, O music! And forms, sweat, eyes
and long hair floating there. And white tears boiling,–
O bliss!– and the feminine voice reaching to the bottom of volcanoes
and grottos of the arctic seas. The banner…
Golden dawn and shivering evening find our brig lying by opposite
this villa and its dependencies which form a promontory
as extensive as Epirus and the Peloponnesus,
or as the large island of Japan, or as Arabia!
Fanes lighted up by the return of the _theories_;
prodigious views of a modern coast’s defenses;
dunes illustrated with flaming flowers and bacchanalia;
grand canals of Carthage and Embankments of a dubious Venice;
Etnas languidly erupting, and crevasses
of flowers and of glacier waters;
washhouses surrounded by German poplars;
strange parks with slopes bowing down
the heads of the Tree of Japan;
and circular facades of the “Grands” and the
“Royals” of Scarborough and of Brooklyn;
and their railways flank, cut through, and
overhang this hotel whose plan was selected in
the history of the most elegant and the
most colossal edifices of Italy, America, and Asia,
and whose windows and terraces,
at the moment full of expensive illumination, drinks and breezes,
are open to the fancy of the travelers and the nobles who,–
during the day allow all the tarantellas of the coast,–
and even the ritornellos of the illustrious valleys of art,
to decorate most wonderfully the facades of Promontory Palace.
Ancient Comedy pursues its harmonies and divides its Idylls:
Raised platforms along the boulevards.
A long wooden pier the length of a rocky field in which
the barbarous crowd moves about under the denuded trees.
In corridors of black gauze, following the promenades
with their lanterns and their leaves.
Birds of the mysteries swoop down onto a masonry pontoon,
swayed by the sheltered archipelago of spectators’ boats.
Operatic scenes with accompaniment of flute and drum
look down from slanting recesses contrived below
the ceilings around modern club rooms and halls of ancient Orient.
The fairy spectacle maneuvers at the top of an amphitheater
crowned with thickets,– or moves and modulates for the Boeotians
in the shade of waving forest trees, on the edge of the cultivated fields.
The opera-comique is divided on a stage at the line of intersection
of ten partitions set up between the gallery and the footlights.