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Après le Déluge

As soon as the idea of the Flood was stale,

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 hiding—the 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's—in 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 thyme—and eclogues in sabots growling in the orchard. Then, in the violet stand of trees, Eucharis told me it was spring.

Rise, pond—foam, roll on the bridge and over the treetops—black sheets and organs, lightning and thunder, climb and roll—waters and glooms, climb and raise the Floods again.

For since they vanished—oh, 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 forest—the flowers of dream tinkle, shine, beam—the 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 gardens—young mothers and big sisters with looks full of pilgrimages, sultanas, princesses of tyrannical dress and gait, little foreigners and persons sweetly unhappy.

What boredom, the hour of "dear body" and dear heart".


It is she, the little dead girl, behind the rosebushes—the young departed mommy comes down the steps—the cousin's barouche squeaks on the sand—the little brother (he is in the Indies!) there, before the setting sun, on the meadow of carnations—the 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 south—you follow the red road to arrive at the empty inn. The château is for sale; the shutters are detached—the priest will have taken away the key to the church—around 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 ricks!

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 relief—very far underground.

I put my elbows on the table, the lamp shines very brightly on these journals which I am idiotic to reread, these books without interest.

At an enormous distance above my subterranean parlor, houses are set up, fogs gather. The mud is red or black. Monstrous city, endless night!

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 ones—the women reappeared.

He killed all those who followed him, after the hunt or libations—all followed him.

He amused himself slaughtering luxury beasts. He set palaces on fire. He pounced on people and cut them to pieces—the 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 Prince—savant music is lacking to our desire.