Georgette Ryner

Corvus Editions:
Bibliography:
  • Georgette Ryner, “Oh ! l’affreux rêve,” L’en dehors 3 no. 27 (début Janvier 1924): 2.
  • Han Ryner, “Ma fille, être nouveau,” L’en dehors 3 no. 27 (début Janvier 1924): 3.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Un rêve fou,” L’en dehors 3 no. 29-30 (20 Février 1924): 2.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Si je retournais dans votre pays,” La pensée française 4 no. 71 (31 mars 1924): 14.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Les mots d’amour,” La pensée française 4 no. 71 (31 mars 1924): 14.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Espoir…,” L’en dehors 3 no. 44 (1 Octobre 1924): 1.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Notre enquête sur l’École Unique,” La pensée française 4 no. 84 (13 octobre 1924): 16.
  • Georgette Ryner, “Vivre!,” L’en dehors 3 no. 45/46 supplément (20 Octobre 1924): 2.
  • E. Fournier, “Vivre (à Georgette Ryner),” L’en dehors 3 no. 48 (15-30 Novembre 1924): 3.
  • “Vivre,” L’en dehors 3 no. 53 (22 Février 1925): 1.

DANS LA RONDE ETERNELLE

  • Dans la ronde éternelle

LIVRE PREMIER: LE BAISER DE LA MORT

  • Arthédice la blonde
  • Si je retournais dans votre pays
  • Le Baiser de la Mort
  • Et puis !
  • Oh ! l’affreux rêve
  • Vivre
  • Ceux qui passeront
  • Venez près de moi

LIVRE DEUXIÈME: LA STATUE IMPARFAITE

  • Ah! comme elle était belle
  • L’étoile du bonheur
  • Jamais bonheur ne vint

LIVRE TROISIÈME: LES MOTS D’AMOUR

  • Les mots d’amour
  • Un rêve fou
  • Tendresses
  • Tout bas
  • Pourquoi, petit enfant ?
  • Pourquoi, es-tu venu ?
  • Dialogue
  • Quand ton âme
  • Celui que tu as choisi
  • L’âme-sœur de mon âme
  • Ah ! le noble jardin

LIVRE QUATRIÈME: MON CHERS PETITS ENFANTS

  • Mes chers petits enfants
  • Berceuse
  • Deux puissances

———————————————

  • Dans la ronde éternelle
 

 [translation in progress]

In the Eternal Ronde

PRELUDE

In the Eternal Ronde

What have you come to do in the round-dance, in the eternal ronde of the living—tomorrow the danse macabre and ronde of the dead? What have you come to do then, pretty little children?

— We have come to dance, to play and to sing—and then we will set off again for the land of mystery. Will our eyes retain a memory of light and flowers? Will our hearts hold a memory of love and kisses, when we have returned to the land of mystery?

— What have you come to do in the round-dance, in the eternal ronde of the living—tomorrow the danse macabre and ronde of the dead? What have you come to do then, kings and crowned princes?

— We have come to reign, to enjoy and subjugate the world—and then we will set off again for the land of mystery. Will our eyes retain a memory of nations on their knees? Will our hearts hold a memory of the tears and blood spilt, when we have returned to the land of mystery?

— What have you come to do in the round-dance, in the eternal ronde of the living—tomorrow the danse macabre and ronde of the dead? What have you come to do then, poets and savants?

— We have come to seek, to sing and to embrace the world with enthusiasm and love—and then we will set off again for the land of mystery. Will our eyes retain a memory of the beauties glimpsed, of the truths discovered? Will our hearts hold the memory of our comforting creations, of the aid rendered to our fellows, when we have returned to the land of mystery?

— What have you come to do in the round-dance, in the eternal ronde of the living—tomorrow the danse macabre and ronde of the dead? What have you come to do then, anonymous crowd, crushing multitude ?

— We have come to cry, to suffer and to die—and then we will set off again for the land of mystery, from which we came without knowing why! And, in a few years, no memory will remain of our hard labor and our trials. And we, who are no more, will retain no memory in our eyes, hold no memory in our hearts. So what it is that we have we come to do in the eternal ronde?

BOOK ONE: THE KISS OF DEATH

Arthédice the Blonde

Who will be the friend of Arthédice the blonde?

Naos, old already, covets the flower that has not yet bloomed. But the eyes of Arthédice smile at the future and her shaking head says: “The one that I love will be young, happy and handsome.”

Who will the joyful Arthédice choose for her fiancé? Clytos, pale and thin, brings to her a heart already weary of love. The heart of Arthédice is pure and her shaking head says: “The one that I love will be strong and good.”

Who will be the husband of Arthédice the beautiful? Lydus, young and loving, offers her his arms, opens to her his heart. But Arthédice, young and pretty, dreams of wealth and parties: “My husband,” she says, shaking her “should bring me pearls and diamonds.”

So who will it be, the love of Arthédice the blonde?

Here he comes!… Old as the world, he arrives, all whiteness and clattering bones on his black horse: he takes the hand of Arthédice, closes her eyes, and carries beauty and agony off to somber death!

If I Returned to Your Country

If I returned to your country, how sad it would be—this return to the once-beloved county, to the country where you are no longer!

In the staircase, as I climbed, I would meet four men carrying down a heavy crate : It would be you, alas! The little that remains of you.

Through the door, when I knocked, I would no longer hear your joyful step. My heart, which beat, saying: “It is her”—my heart would beat more deeply and its hasty would say to me: “It is her no longer! It is her no longer!”

Inside, I would seek and await your presence in vain: “Will she not come at last? Why does she let me continue my visit in this way? Does she not know that I am waiting, that I grow worried and distressed?”

In the somber little church, I would take refuge to let my sadness flow: a bier would be erected, all black, with silver fringes, all black among the blazing lights!

I would flee to the peaceful fields. A noise of chains, of earth falling, heavy, on wood, would awaken me from my torpor.

I would kneel down beside the grave: your bones would seem to me as they will be soon, gnawed and crumbling, and your body would seem to me already delivered to the worms.

If I returned to your country, ah ! how sad it would be—this return to the once-beloved county, to the country where you are no longer!

The Kiss of Death

Always, everywhere, it is necessary to struggle—but my heart is made for calm and my heart’s desire is peace.

Everywhere, always, I encounter the indifferent—but my heart is made to love and my heart’s desire is love.

There are days — rare days — when I call out for the peace of the tomb: the kiss of death.

My whole body shivvers before the rot to come, my  mind takes fright at the deep oblivion, the dark shroud, that will soon cover my being.

But why, always, everywhere, it is necessary to struggle, when my heart is made for calm and my heart’s desire is peace?

Why, always, everywhere, do I encounter the indifferent, when my heart is made for love, when love is my heart’s desire.

This is why, often, I call out for the peace of the tomb, the kiss of death.

I would like to depart in the fullness of youth, carry all my illusions into death, my heart virgin of stains and suffering, my enthusiasm unfurled like a banner on the day of victories. Why wait for it to be withdrawn again in the bitter blast of disappointment?

Since, always, everywhere, it is necessary to struggle, when my heart is made for calm, when peace is my heart’s desire!

Since, always, everywhere, I encounter the indifferent, when my heart is made to love, when love is my heart’s desire!

They are numerous, more and more numerous, the days when I call out for the peace of the tomb, the kiss of death.

And Then!

I want to love!
I want to feel!
I want to shine!

And then it will be death that comes, suddenly: the death that will freeze my heart and shatter love, the death that will destroy pleasures like fragile glass, the death, vast fire that will consume the glory and leave only ashes!

And then it will be darkness, immobility in the narrow box, and then it will be the house draped it black; it will be, perhaps, the absence of any real pain, the candles that symbolize nothing, the muttered, soulless prayers, and then it will be the grave, and then it will be oblivion!

The Frightful Dream

Oh! The frightful dream I had that night!

A high mountain where I climbed, joyful, in beauty, light and love!

Surrounded by flowers, fragrant scents, friendly hearts, here I am—oh, victory!—on the summit. A desire overwhelmed me: to remain there forever and always savor the happiness that welled over from within me.

Suddenly, I roll onto the other slope, black, hideous; the mist thickens around me; all those that I love have disappeared and my groping hands seek then.

Oh! The frightful dream I had that night!

Faster, in an ever-accelerating rush, I descend the rough slope; nothing can hold me back. I roll in the dark unknown. An unfathomable abyss opens beneath me; I fall, I fall. Where, then, will my fate carry me?

Oh! The frightful dream that is life! Oh, the frightful dream that death must be!

To Live

To live, to gather flowers along the road, to make a fragrant spray of them, to breathe in their perfume, mixed with the pure air; to feel oneself infused with the scents of springtime, with the soft caress of the sun,

…and suddenly to no longer be!

To live, to move forward, the wind, love, life swelling your chest; to look at everything with your curious eyes, to admire mountains and vales, to climb, to scale, to leap, to race from peak to peak, always higher on the summits, closer to the heavens, in the white immensity;

…and then one day to stay forever underground!

To live, to feel your heart beat so strong against your flesh; to love everything and not be sated with love: the birds, the flowers and nature, the children with the adorable gestures, divine smiles, that we would always love to hold, little ones, upon our knee; to love the unfortunate, to cry for their misery, to love, to love infinitely,

…and then one day to love no more!

To live and to wish to understand; to live and to wish to know; to live and to want to create; to study, attentively, all the faces of existence, all the agonizing problems; to feel strong, ready perhaps to solve one of the enigmas posed by the terrible sphinx and to cry out, joyfully:

I have discovered! I have understood! I have created! I have conquered!

Then to fall, laid low, to no longer think, no longer seek, no longer be!

To live, to live and then to die!

* * *

[published in l’en dehors as “Hope…”]

Those who walk upon my grave
Will read, indifferent, a date and a name
And my bones will be cold.

Those who read the poor lines
By which I try to outlive myself
Will say: “She was and she passed on”
And my bones will be cold.

However, someone, I hope,
Will catch my soul in my lines:
“She has loved; she has suffered”
They will say, shedding a tear.
And then my bones will no longer be cold.

 * * *

Come close to me, my children.
You see, I am going to leave,
And I feel my soul detach itself from me.
Will it soar, luminous,
To seize the astounding mysteries,
Will it return to a body,
Or will it dissolve into nothing?
I do not know, my dear children.

Remain well in me, my children,
And this heart that will go cold
Your love will revive.
When you speak of me
In death my bones will quiver,
I will have less fear, I will be less cold.
My spirit will come among you.
I will live in you, my children.

My life will be perpetuated in you,
In your bodies that I have formed.
Your blood is made from my blood,
I see your my again in your eyes.
I leave my soul in your soul,
Your mind dreams my dreams
And my projects are your projects.
My life is a ring from the past to the future.
No, I do not die, my children.

BOOK TWO: THE IMPERFECT STATUE

Ah! How beautiful the statue was in my heart!
My creative spirit adorned it with a thousand charms,
….. There, all beauty was spread!
But when my fingers took up the clay
The clay did not give voice to my dream
And I was not able, like the gods,
To breathe my soul into its form.
….. Before the imperfect statue
Tears have filled my eyes.

How beautiful life was to me!
My creative spirit adorned it with a thousand charms,
….. There, all beauty was spread!
Alas! When I followed the road
I did not find my dream
And I have not been able, like the gods,
To make love and light spring forth!
….. And before the imperfect life
Tears have filled my heart.

✦ ✦ ✦

The Star of Happiness

Above the cradle, a star shone.
…. The child understood its caress,
…. Its soft glow murmured:
“You will be happy, you will be happy,
…. For you I shine in the night
…. And I will follow you in life:
…. I am the star of happiness.”

Beside the cradle, poets sang
…. And the child understood their voices.
…. For her, the verses repeated:
“You will be happy, you will be happy,
…. We will replace the ancient fairies,
…. Poets who sing happiness!”

Close to the cradle, the mother smiled,
…. And the child read her smile
…. Which, very tenderly, whispered:
“You will be happy, yes, you will be happy,
…. You will have the spirit of your father,
…. The spirit that conquers happiness.”

Beside the cradle, the father thought
…. And the child divined his dreams,
…. His dreams of love and pride:
“You will be happy, yes, you will be happy.”
…. Beautiful as her mother, he saw her,
…. Dancing on paths lit by happiness.

Beside the cradle, softly,
…. The brothers and sisters came.
…. They murmured, in a kiss,
…. Wishes of love and happiness:
“You will be happy and everyone will love you,
…. You will reign over hearts.”
…. And, always, the star shone,
Seeming, with its clear glow, to agree.

……………………………………………

Where are they, the happiness, sung by the poets,
The pleasures spoken of by the star,
The talent, the beauty, the love?…
…. Close by my cradle,
When I smiled at those wishes of happiness,
Did a bad fairy creep in,
…. Bearing misfortune?…

Happiness Never Came

A prince descended to my humble abode,
His hands were filled with the richest of presents.
“Here I am,” he said, “open wide the doors,
Prepare throne, bed and the royal feat.”
“No, it is not for me,” I said sadly,
“A prince never came to my humble abode.”
If happiness descends one day to my heart,
If it arrives bearing the richest of presents,
….. Love, Joy and Smiles,
“No, it is not for me,” I would say, sadly,
“Happiness never came to my poor heart.”

BOOK THREE: THE WORDS OF LOVE

The Words of Love

Words of love sing on my lips; to whom will I speak them, these gentle words of love? — I will speak them, happy fiancée, to the one who will take my heart, those words which, on my lips, sing love.

Words of love sing on my lips; to whom will I speak them, these gentle words of love? — I will speak them, young wife, to the one who will take my hands, those words which, on my lips, sing love

Words of love sing on my lips; to whom will I speak them, these gentle words of love? — I will speak them, fortunate mother, to the child pressed to my breast, those words which, on my lips, sing love

Words of love sing on my lips; to whom will I speak them, these gentle words of love? — I will speak them, old grandmother, to the good grandfather who, close to me, will have traveled along the road; I will repeat them, those words which, on my lips, will sing like an always joyful refrain.

Words of love sing on my lips; to whom will I speak them, these gentle words of love? — I will cradle the blond heads that will come to people my old age, with those words which, from my lips, will scatter the treasures of love.

Alas! He did not come: the fiancé who would have understood those gentle words of love. — The jealous husband did not know how to listen to them, the children are gone and the old grandfather groans beside the hearth.

The words, those gentle words of love will remain forever buried in my heart and my lips close again without having said the words of love.

A Mad Dream

Oh, my friend! Let’s make a dream, a mad dream!

Let’s leave for the pole, for the equator, for the stars, wherever you wish!
You will be everything for me, I would be everything for you
…………………………………………………………………..
I know well that it is only a dream, a mad dream.

Oh, my friend! Let’s make a dream, a mad dream!
Just my eyes in your eyes and my hands in your hand,
For a moment, I rest my heart on your heart,
And just once I hear you say: I love you,
And I die thus, sure of your love.
…………………………………………………………………..
I know well that it is only a dream, a mad dream.

Why would that only be a dream, a mad dream?
But where are they, and who are they, the friend who would raise me up above the earth,
Who, their hands in my hands, will say: I love you,
To whom, my heart resting on their heart,
I could respond with words of love?
…………………………………………………………………..
Would that just be a dream, a mad dream?

TENDER THOUGHTS

Sometimes, if it please you, I would be your little child,
And in my hours of sadness
I would nestle in your arms,
Your kisses would dry my tears,
Your words of love would calm my heart’s
hasty beating.
Sometimes, if it please you, I would be your little child.

But, in your dark hours, you would be my child,
I would forget my sadness.
You would nestle in my arms.
My kisses would dry your tears.
My words of love would calm your heart’s
hasty beating.

Yes, in your dark hours, you would be my child!

In a Whisper

Close to me, speak in a whisper,
And the words of love of which I dream,
Which should awaken my heart,
To find an echo in my soul,
Repeat them in a whisper, in a whisper.

You will make my heart take fright,
If you should speak more loudly.
As to the child in its cradle
You must sing a lullaby,
Sing to my heart very, very softly.

If you can speak very softly,
If the murmur of your lips
Repeats that of my heart,
I would would recognize your voice;
I would respond very softly, very softly.

If you can rock my soul
With a lullaby of love,
Like a child in its cradle.
I would raise my arms to you;
I would also sing in a whisper.

WHY, LITTLE CHILD?

Why, little child, have I looked at you?
Because your azure-colored eyes
Seem a piece of his eyes.
In your gaze shines a flame
That I have seen in friendly eyes.
So, little child, I have gazed at you.

Why, little child, have I said your name?
Because in saying that name,
Dear to my lips, dear to my heart,
I believed I spoke to the friend
Whose name I love to say again.

Why, little child, have I kissed your hands?
Because in kissing your hands, your eyes, our brow,
I believe I was embracing the friend
Whose eyes, whose lips are far away
And yet who follows me everywhere.

WHY DID YOU COME?

Why did you come to meet me one evening?
I walked in the woods, dreaming of tenderness
Your eyes were full of tears,
And your voice trembled with emotion.
With a kiss, I thought to drink your tears
And with my love to ease your suffering.

Why did you come to meet me one evening?
Since, now, alone in dreaming of tenderness
The memory of your big eyes, filled with tears
And that of your voice, trembling with emotion,
And the taste of the kiss that one day drank your tears
Increases my love, aggravates my suffering.

Why did you come to meet me one evening
If you do not return to speak to me of tenderness?
Are your eyes never filled with tears?
Does your voice no longer tremble with emotion?
Have you forgotten the one who drank your tears
And with her love calmed your suffering?

Why did you come to meet me one evening?

DIALOGUE

If hearts spoke, not lips:

“Do you love me, my sweet friend?”
— I love you, my dear, perhaps as much as myself.

— How can you love without forgetting yourself?
Will it be for a long time, at least, my sweet friend?
— I will love you today, perhaps even tomorrow.

— How to speak of love when it is not eternal?
But do you love only me? Tell me, my sweet friend.
— My heart is much too big for a single love.

— My love is so great that it swells my heart,
And you believe you love me, alas! my sweet friend.”

If hearts spoke, not lips.

WHEN YOUR SOUL

When your beautiful soul will smile in your eyes,
And when it rises, generous, to your lips
I will love in your eyes the reflection our your soul
My thirst will be quenched by a kiss from your lips.

When my dream of love in your eyes will smile
And when it rises, generous, to your lips
I will love in your eyes that creative sparkle
And my dream will live in the shine of your lips.

………………………………………………

What I love in you is an unreal soul,
Created by my desire, living in itself,
But never have I seen it smile in your eyes
And your lips have never given life to my dream.

THE ONE THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN

The one that you have chosen, that you say you love
Has he seemed to you good and delicate?
Has he anticipated your desires?
Does he know how to say the words that sooth
The dark wounds of the heart?

— The one that I love has, alas!
No delicacy for me.
But when love sets him ablaze
He will anticipate my desires,
He will find the words that sooth
The dark wounds of the heart.

— The one that you have chosen, that you say you love
Has he wrapped you in tenderness?
As you forget yourself for him,
Could he forget himself for you?
Do his eyes and hands and heart
Say the words on his lips?

— The one that I love has, alas!
Little tenderness for me
But when love sets him ablaze,
As I will forget myself for him,
He will know how to forget himself for me,
His eyes and hands and heart
Will say all the words on his lips.

— The one that you have chosen, that you say you love
He is selfish and only loves himself.
Your great love will surround him,
But it is himself alone that he seeks in you!

— My love, divine fire, will spread
To the very heart of the one that I love.
It will set fire to the whole being,
Make of our two souls one soul.
Neither he nor I will be anything more,
But a being made of love
Where our two hears will be merged.

— The one that you have chosen, that you say you love
Is not the one that you love:
The loved one is only in your dreams,
In all your dreams of tenderness,
Love and delicacy.

[…]

My Soul is a Garden

Ah! The noble garden of whispers and love.

Flowers of purple friendship kiss passionately beneath the scorching of the sun; insects, butterflies of love dive there in fervent flight. The palpitations and the lives of loved ones, it amplifies them; there, divine music reverberates and lingers, perfumes intoxicate,  incense of affection and of aching pleasures.

……………………………………………….

My beautiful garden of whispers and love, behold! it has become, under painful blows, a vast desert of sepulchers. The flowers have withered. The wind, a wind of misfortune and death, has destroyed, has broken, has carried of love, life and the perfumes, the joy and the sadness.

My beautiful garden of love, will it know another springtime? Will it rise up, my soul, from it cold tomb of indifference? Will it create anew life, friendship and love?

BOOK FOUR: MY POOR LITTLE CHILDREN

My dear little children that I never had,
How I love around me your joyful ring-dance,
Your laugh and your games, your overflowing life,
….. Your adorable movements!

Oh, dear little children who in long dreams I created,
Little children of love, you incarnate my soul;
Alain shakes my proud energies,
In her whole being, Dommine sings gentleness, tenderness;
The caressing graces of my walled-in soul.
Sylvie, my wild flower, perhaps you are my favorite,
Fierce independence, rebellion that busts forth and contains love.

Dear little children that I never had,
I love the rosy flesh, fit for long kisses,
The eyes singing joy like the water of fountains,
….. And the dancing curls,
The plump dimples of the little hands, the movements full of grace,
The whole body, a hymn of beauty, a ray of soothing honey.

Dear little children that I never had,
I seek the face, the smile, the eyes, the round calves in the children met by chance.
Always my gaze returns to the pretty children in the streets, the gardens,
….. My heart runs with them,
While intense tears are cried by the child that I would not have.

Lullaby

Sleep, sleep on your mother’s lap,
my little love-poppet.

Little soul, unknown, capricious, always creating yourself anew, I seek to decipher the problem that you are; like a lover I suffer, I suffer and yet I take pleasure in not being abel to fully read your soul.

Little soul, unknown, capricious, always creating yourself anew, what will you be, my little beloved? What mysterious germs grow within you? I tremble like the gardener watching over the seed that he has sown: he knows that his work, his care, his love is sometimes not enough and the seed does not sprout and the fruits of the plant are not sweet.

I thought to create you, my little love-doll and I know not what ancestral instincts have come to react in the creative crucible; I do not know to what deformations your soul may be subject.

Sleep, sleep on your mother’s lap,
my little love-poppet.

Two Powers

Two powers compete for my heart.

“Come to me! Come to me!
Fervently sings the Muse.
My wings are opening wide
For the glorious flight, the eternal embrace.
Come soar in the azure,
Come delight your eyes with indescribable beauties.
You will know the joy of rising above the human,
And the greater joy of creating.
Sing your feelings,
And sing your thoughts, which, in beautiful works, will never perish.”

“Come to me! Come to me!
Murmurs, soft and sweetly, the fairy of the hearth.
My heart is opening wide
For fruitful happiness, eternal kisses.
You will know the pure, great joy of creating life,
Of perpetuating yourself forever, immortal
And you wiill know, sweet, exhuberant,
The joy of holding it, this little one who has come from you,
High up in your arms,
And contemplating it, and consuming it with kisses.
Your heart will melt with tenderness
When you hear it murmur: Mama!
I could sing—I, the muse of the hearth—all the joys that will will rise up on your road of love: the joys of first steps, of stammerings, joys of jolly laughter, joys of first awakenings, of first triumphs, coquetteries, maternal vanities!”

— “Come to me! Come to me!
Fervently sings the Muse,
How fine it is! How grand it is to live independent,
To walk alone through life,
To taste the joys of deep and solitary thought,
The peaceful, fruitful solitude.”

— “Come to me! Come to me!
Sings the sweet fairy of the hearth and love.
How good it is! How sweet it is to walk side-by-side in life,
To rest your head on a beloved shoulder,
To feel their hand tremble in a calmer hand,
To share ideas and feelings,
And to feel wrapped in a mantle of affection.

Two divine powers compete for my heart.

IN THE ETERNAL RONDE

In the Eternal Ronde

When my soul has escaped the flesh that walls it in, when I no longer have need of lame, false words to sing my songs, then I will know the joyful caresses, the quivering embraces of the infinite. Then, conquering eagle, I could seize other souls in my soul and carry them off to my heaven of love.

It will flow, my soul, in the rain that slowly trickles on the bark of the trees, kisses the silken corollas, penetrates drop by drop, wave of life, into the hearts of the flowers. And my soul will become—oh, triumph!—the sap that gives life to the plant!

It will enclose itself, my soul, in the playful, laughing wind. It will play with the child’s curls, it will kiss the velvet of its cheek, it will pursue it in its rapid to-and-fro, intoxicate it with pure air, make it drunk with joy, with love!

My soul will dance in the moonbeam, impalpable and light. Into the heart that awakens, it will slip my maddest dreams, my blessed fancies, all the love that cries out in my being, all the love that my eyes, my smile and my words have, so poorly, expressed.

It will laugh, my soul, in the mad light of the sun. Into the mind set alight, it will put the passion for beauty, the flame of the poem and the rhythm of the dance.

Everywhere, in the deep night, my soul will spread. Into the abysses of thought, it will lead the sage. And perhaps, under the caresses of the darkness that will be my caress, they will find the secret of things, the great secret of love.


[VARIANTS]

If I Returned to Your Country

(La pensée française)

If I returned to your country, how sad it would be—this return to the once-beloved county, to the country where you are no longer!

In the staircase, as I climbed, I would meet four men carrying down a heavy crate—and it would be you or what remains of you.

Through the door, when I knocked, I would no longer hear your joyful step. My heart, which beat, saying: “It is her”—my heart would beat more deeply and its hasty would say to me: “It is her no longer! Will I never see her again?”

Within, I would seek and await your presence in vain: “Will she not come at last? Why does she let me continue my visit in this way? Does she not know that I am waiting for her?”

In the somber little church, I would gather my thoughts, let my sadness flow: a bier would be erected, all black with silver fringes, all black among the blazing lights!

I would enter the peaceful fields: the noise of chains, the sound of earth falling, heavy on the wood, would awaken me from my torpor.

I would kneel down beside the grave: your bones would seem to me already gnawed and your body delivered to the worms.

If I returned to your country, ah! how sad it would be—this return to the once-beloved county, to the country where you are no longer!

 

English adaptations by Shawn P. Wilbur.

[Parallel French/English on next page]

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2562 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.