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René Char
On Poesy

 tr. Christopher Mulrooney

 

 

I admit intuition reasons and dictates orders from the moment when, bearer of keys, it doesn’t forget to make vibrate the trousseau of embryonic forms of poesy by crossing the high cages where sleep the echoes, the chosen fore-prodigies which, in passing, soak them and fecundate them.

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It happens to the poet to run aground in the course of his researches on a shore where he was not expected until much later, after his annihilation. Insensitive to the hostility of his backward entourage, the poet organizes himself, brings down his vigor, parcels out the time, hooks up the summits of his wings.

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The poet cannot stay for long in the stratosphere of the Word. He must coil in new tears and press farther forward in his order.

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The poem is furious ascension; poesy the play of dry riverbanks.

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The poet conservator of the infinite faces of the living.

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The poet, susceptible to exaggeration, evaluates correctly under torture.

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It is unworthy of the poet to mystify the lamb, to invest its wool.

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Poesy is of all clear waters that which tarries least at the reflection of its bridges.

Poesy, the future life within requalified man.

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Earth moving, horrible, exquisite and heterogeneous human condition mutually grasp and qualify each other. Poesy is gotten out of the exalted sum of their moiré.

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The poem is the love realized from desire stayed desire.

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Some demand for it the reprieve of armor; their wound has the spleen of an eternity of pincers. But poesy which goes naked on its feet of reed, on its feet of pebble, does not allow itself to be reduced anywhere. Woman we kiss mad time on its mouth, or side by side with the zenithal cricket, it sings all winter night in the poor bakery, beneath the crumbs of a bread of light.

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The poet is not irritated by the hideous extinction of death, but confiding in his particular touch, transforms all things into prolonged wools.

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On the threshold of heaviness, the poet like the spider builds his road in the sky. Partly hidden to himself he appears to others, in the beams of his unheard-of ruse, mortally visible.

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The poet’s lodgings are of the vaguest; the gulf of a sad fire makes a tender offer for his deal table. The vitality of the poet is not a vitality of the beyond but a diamonded actual point of transcendent presences and pilgrim storms.

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To be a poet, that’s to have an appetite for a malaise whose consummation, amidst the whirlwinds of the totality of existent and forefelt things, provokes, just at its closing, felicity.

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The poem gives and receives of its multitude the entire step of the poet expatriating himself from his closed chamber. Behind that shutter of blood burns the cry of a force that will destroy itself alone because it has a horror of force, its subjective and sterile sister.

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The poet torments with the help of ungaugeable secrets the form and voice of his fountains.

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The poet recommends, “Incline, incline yourselves further.” He does not always come out unhurt from his page, but like the poor he knows how to take advantage of an olive’s eternity.

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To each collapse of proofs the poet responds with a salvo of future.

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After the remittance of his treasures (whirling between two bridges) and the abandon of his sweats, the poet, half of the body, the summit of breath in the unknown, the poet is no more the reflection of a fait accompli. Nothing more measures him, ties him. The serene city, the unperforated city is before him.

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Upright, growing in duration, the poem, mystery that enthrones. To one side, following the path of the common vine, the poet, grand Beginner, the poet intransitive, ordinary in his intravenous splendors, the poet drawing misfortune from its own abyss, with Woman beside him inquiring of the rare grape.

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Magician of insecurity, the poet has only adoptive satisfactions. Ash forever incomplete.

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I am the poet, ringleader of the dry well your distances, o my love, provision.

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The experience that life belies, that which the poet prefers.

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At the center of poesy a contradictor awaits you. He is your sovereign. Fight loyally against him.

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In poesy, to become is to reconcile. The poet does not speak the truth, he lives it; and living it, he becomes untrue. Paradox of the Muses: justness of the poem.

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In the fabric of the poem must rencounter an equal number of hidden tunnels, chambers of harmony, at the same time as future elements, harbors in sunlight, captious tracks and existent things calling one another. The poet is the boatman of all this forming an order. And an insurgent order.

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Poets, children of the tocsin.

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Poesy will rob me of death.

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You cannot begin a poem without a particle of error about yourself and about the world, without a flaw of innocence in the first words.

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Poesy is that fruit we squeeze, ripe, jubilantly, in our hands, at the very moment it appears to us, of uncertain future, on the berimed stalk, in the calyx of the flower.

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The design of poesy being to render us sovereign by impersonalizing us, we touch, thanks to the poem, on the plenitude of what was only sketched or deformed by the boastings of the individual.
Poems are incorruptible ends of existence we throw to the repugnant maw of death, but high enough so that, ricocheting from it, they fall into the world nominative of unity.

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In the poem, each word or nearly must be used in its original sense. Some, detaching themselves, become plurivalent. There are amnesiacs there. The constellation of The Solitary is stretched.

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My métier is state of the art.

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A poet must leave traces of his passing, not proofs. Only traces make you dream.

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Reality without the dislocating energy of poesy, what is it?

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To make a poem, is to take possession of a nuptial beyond that is found quite in this life, very attached to it, and nonetheless in proximity to the urns of death.

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Poesy, unique arising of man, that the sun of the dead cannot darken in the perfect and burlesque infinite.

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Poesy is at once speech and silent, desperate provocation of our being-exigent for the coming of a reality that will be without rival. Imputrescible, that. Imperishable, no, for it runs risks everywhere. But the only one that visibly triumphs over material death. Such is Beauty, the Beauty of the high seas, apparent from the first days of our heart, now derisively conscious, now luminously informed.

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The only signature at the bottom of blank life, poesy draws it. And always between our exploded heart and the apparent cascade.

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Poesy lives in perpetual insomnia.

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On poesy night rushes, day breaks, when you exalt yourself to express it. However long its tether, poesy is hurt in us, and we in its fleeings.

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The poet is the part of man refractory to calculated projects. He may be called to pay no matter what price for that privilege or that millstone. He must know that evil always comes from farther away than you believe, and does not die perforce on the barricade that you have chosen for it.

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Poesy has a hinterland the walls of which alone are dark. No flag floats long on that ice field which, following its caprice, gives itself to us and takes itself back. But it indicates to our eyes lightning and its virgin resources.

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In poesy, you only inhabit the place you leave, you only create the work you detach yourself from, you only obtain duration by destroying time.

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The duty of a Prince is, during the truce of the seasons and the siesta of the fortunate, to produce an Art at the aid of clouds, an Art that is born of dolor and conduces to dolor.

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The poignant and so grave act of writing when anguish rises on one elbow to observe and which our happiness engages naked in the wind of the way.

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The poet is remarked by the quantity of insignificant pages he does not write. He has all the streets of oblivious life to distribute his average alms and spit the little blood he does not die of.

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Poesy will always be pre-eminently an escape, jail broken and assurance that that escape in long and murderous strides has succeeded.

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Here we are again alone in tête-à-tête, o Poesy. Your return signifies that I must once again measure myself with you, with your juvenile hostility, with your tranquil thirst for space, and hold quite ready for your joy that equilibrating unknown at my disposal.