Stéphane Mallarmé, born March 18, 1842, Paris.

Stéphane Mallarmé, born March 18, 1842, Paris.


Hyperbole! From my memory

Triumphantly can’t you

Rise today, like sorcery

From an iron-bound book or two:

Since, through science, I inscribe

The hymn of hearts so spiritual

In my patient work, inside

Atlas, herbal, ritual.

We walked set our face

(We were two, I maintain)

Toward the many charms of place,

Compared them, Sister, to yours again.

The reign of authority’s troubled

If, without reason, we say

Of this south that our double

Thoughtlessness has in play

That its site, bed of a hundred irises,

(They know if it truly existed),

Bears no name the golden breath

Of the trumpet of summer cited.

Yes, on an isle the air charges

With sight and not with visions

Every flower showed itself larger

Without entering our discussions.

Such flowers, immense, that every one

Usually had as adornment

A clear contour, a lacuna done

To separate it from the garden.

Glories of long-held desire, Ideas

Were all exalted in me, to see

The Iris family appear

Rising to this new duty,

But the sister sensible and fond

Carried her look no further

Than a smile, and as if to understand

I continue my ancient labour.

Oh! Let the contentious spirit know

At this hour when we are silent

The stalks of multiple lilies grow

Far too tall for our reason

And not as the riverbank weeps

When its tedious game tells lies

Claiming abundance should reach

Into my first surprise

On hearing the whole sky and the map

Behind my steps, without end, bear witness

By the ebbing wave itself that

This country never existed.

The child so taught by the paths,

Resigns her ecstasy

Says the word: Anastasius!

Born for scrolls of eternity,

Before a tomb can laugh

Beneath any sky, her ancestor,

At bearing that name: Pulcheria!

Hidden by the too-high lily-flower.




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