Après le Déluge
As soon as the idea of the Flood
A hare stopped in the moving sainfoin and bellflowers, and said
its prayer to the rainbow, through the spider's web.
Oh! the precious stones that were hidingthe flowers that
already were gazing.
In the dirty main street, stalls were set up, and boats were
hauled to the sea tiered up as in engravings.
Blood ran, at Bluebeard'sin slaughterhouses, at circuses,
where the seal of God paled the windows. Blood and milk ran.
Beavers built. "Mazagrans" steamed in estaminets.
In the big glass house still wet, children in mourning-clothes
saw the marvelous pictures.
A door slammed: and, in the hamlet square, the child turned his
arms, understood by weather vanes and cocks on steeples
everywhere, in the bursting downpour.
Madame *** set up a piano in the Alps. Mass and first communion
were celebrated at the hundred thousand altars of the cathedral.
Caravans started out. And the Hotel Splendid was built in the
chaos of ice and night at the pole.
From that moment, the Moon heard jackals whimpering in the
deserts of thymeand eclogues in sabots growling in the
orchard. Then, in the violet stand of trees, Eucharis told me it
Rise, pondfoam, roll on the bridge and over the
treetopsblack sheets and organs, lightning and thunder,
climb and rollwaters and glooms, climb and raise the Floods
For since they vanishedoh, the precious stones burying
themselves, and the open flowers!it's an annoyance! And the
Queen, the Sorceress who lights her coal in the earthen pot, will
never want to tell us what she knows, what we know not of.
This idol, black eyes and yellow horsehair, sans parents nor
yard, more noble than fable, Mexican and Flemish; its domain,
insolent azure and verdure, runs upon beaches named, by waves
sans vessels, with names ferociously Greek, Slavic, Celtic.
At the edge of the
forestthe flowers of dream tinkle, shine, beamthe
girl with orange lips, nudity shaded, traversed and clothed by
rainbows, flora, the sea.
Ladies who whirl on terraces by the sea; children and giantesses,
superb blacks in verdigris moss, jewels on end on the sticky
ground of thawed groves and gardensyoung mothers and big
sisters with looks full of pilgrimages, sultanas, princesses of
tyrannical dress and gait, little foreigners and persons sweetly
What boredom, the hour of "dear body" and dear
It is she, the little dead girl,
behind the rosebushesthe young departed mommy comes down
the stepsthe cousin's barouche squeaks on the sandthe
little brother (he is in the Indies!) there, before the setting
sun, on the meadow of carnationsthe old men they have
buried straight up in the rampart with gillyflowers.
The swarm of golden leaves surrounds the house of the general.
They are in the southyou follow the red road to arrive at
the empty inn. The château is for sale; the shutters are
detachedthe priest will have taken away the key to the
churcharound the park, the guards' huts are uninhabited.
The fences are so high that you can only see rustling treetops.
Besides, there is nothing to see inside.
The meadows go back to hamlets sans roosters, sans anvils. The
sluice is open. O Calvaries and desert windmills, isles and
Magic flowers were buzzing. Embankments cradled him. Beasts of a
fabulous elegance circulated. Clouds amassed on the high sea made
of an eternity of hot tears.
In the woods there is a bird, its
song stops you and makes you blush.
There is a clock that does not strike.
There is a pothole with a nest of white beasts.
There is a cathedral that descends and a lake that rises.
There is a little carriage abandoned in the coppice or which
descends the path, beribboned.
There is a troupe of little actors in costume, glimpsed on the
road through the edge of the wood.
There is, at last, when you are hungry or thirsty, someone who
chases you off.
I am the saint, at prayer on the
terrace, as peaceable beasts graze to the sea of Palestine.
I am the savant in the dark armchair. Branches and rain crash
into the library casement.
I am the pedestrian of the highroad by way of the dwarf woods;
the rumor of sluices covers my steps. I see for a long time the
melancholy wash of the golden sundown.
I might well be the child abandoned on the jetty gone to sea, the
little servant following the lane whose brow touches the sky.
The paths are bitter. The hillocks are covered with broom. The
air is motionless. How the birds and springs are far! It can only
be the end of the world, advancing.
Let them rent me at last this
tomb, whitewashed with lines of cement in reliefvery far
I put my elbows on the table, the lamp shines very brightly on
these journals which I am idiotic to reread, these books without
At an enormous distance above my subterranean parlor, houses are
set up, fogs gather. The mud is red or black. Monstrous city,
Less high, are sewers. To the sides, nothing but the thickness of
the globe. Perhaps gulfs of azure, wells of fire. It is perhaps
on these planes that moons and comets, seas and fables meet.
In hours of bitterness, I imagine balls of sapphire, of metal. I
am the master of silence. Why would a semblance of basement
window pale in a corner of the vault?
A Prince was vexed for never
having devoted himself but to the perfection of vulgar
generosities. He foresaw stunning revolutions of love, and
suspected his women could do better than this complaisance
embellished with heavens and luxury. He wanted to see the truth,
the hour of desire and of essential gratifications. Were it or no
an aberration of piety, he wanted. He possessed at least a rather
broad human power.
All the women who had known him
were assassinated: what havoc in the garden of beauty! Under the
saber, they blessed him. He did not order any new onesthe
He killed all those who followed
him, after the hunt or libationsall followed him.
He amused himself slaughtering
luxury beasts. He set palaces on fire. He pounced on people and
cut them to piecesthe crowd, the golden roofs, the
beautiful beasts still existed.
One may find ecstasy in
destruction, and be rejuvenated by cruelty! The people did not
murmur. No-one offered the aid of his views.
One evening, he was galloping
proudly. A Genie appeared, of a beauty ineffable, unavowable
even. From his physiognomy and his bearing emerged the promise of
a multiple and complex love! of an unspeakable happiness,
insupportable even! The Prince and the Genie annihilated each
other probably in essential health. How could they not have died
of it? Together then they died
But this Prince expired, in his
palace, at an ordinary age. The Prince was the Genie. The Genie
was the Princesavant music is lacking to our desire.