Les Illuminations

1. Lesbos

2. Since Shade Relents

Since shade relents
since 'tis indeed the day
since hope I long had deemed forever flown
wings back to me that call on her and pray
since so much joy consents to be my own.

and all the evil dreams
Ah! Done am I above all
with the narrowed lips, the sneer
the heartless wit that laughed where one should sigh.

Clenched fist and bosom's angry swell
that knave and fool at every turn abound.
Hard unforgivingness
Oblivion in a hated brewage found

Yes, calm I mean to walk through life, and straight
patient of all, unanxious of the goal
(Void of all)

And as I may, to lighten the long way
go singing airs ingenuous and brave
she'll listen to me graciously (I say)
And, verily, no other heaven i crave.

No other heaven I crave

3. The Fountain Of Blood

My blood in waves seems

sometimes to be spouting
as though in rhythmic sobs

a fountain swooned.

I hear its long, low, rushing sound till, doubting,
i feel myself all over

for the wound.

Across the town, as in the lists of battle,
it flows, transforming paving stones to isles,
slaking the thirst of creatures,

men, and cattle,
and colouring all nature red for miles.

Sometimes I've sought relief

in precious wines
to lull in me the fear that undermines,
but found they sharpened

every sense the more.

I've also sought forgetfulness in lust,
but love's a bed of needles, and they thrust
to give more drink to each rapacious whore

4. Les Illuminations


5. Vigils

The lamps and the rugs
of the vigil make the noise
of waves in the night
along the hull and around the steerage...
The lamps and the rugs...
The sea of the vigil, like Emily's breasts
the hangings, halfway up...
where dart the vigil doves

The plaque of the black hearth
real suns of seashores
Ah Magic wells!
Only sight of dawn, this time.
The sea of the vigil
Where dart the vigil doves

6. Song From The Highest Tower

Let it come, let it come! The season we can love!

I have waited so long,
that at length I forget
and leave unto heaven
my fear and regret
a sick thirst
darkens my veins.

Let it come, let it come! The season we can love!

So the green field, to oblivion falls, overgrown, flowering,
with incense and weeds and the cruel noise of dirty flies.

Let it come, let it come! The season we can love!

I loved the desert, burnt orchards
tired old shops, warm drinks.
I dragged myself through stinking alleys
and with my eyes closed
I offered myself to the sun
the god of fire

7. Distress

I don't come to conquer your flesh tonight
O beast!
In whom are the sins of the race, nor to stir
in your foul tresses a mournful tempest
beneath the fatal boredom my kisses pour.

A heavy sleep without those dreams that creep
under curtains alien to remorse, i ask of your bed.

Sleep you can savour after your dark deceits,
you who know more of Nothingness than the dead.

For Vice, gnawing this inborn nobleness of mine
marked me, like you, with its sterility
but shroud-haunted, pale, destroyed, I flee.

While that heart no tooth of any crime
Can wound lives in your breast of stone

Frightened of dying while I sleep alone

8. Spleen

9. The Nails

...nails grow for a fortnight
...a child with no hair yet on his upper lip
...eyes wide open pretend to suavely stroke his forehead's long nails into his tender breast drinks the blood
...licking the wounds
...the boy cries

Haven't you ever tasted your blood?

...tears of your true love
...those hoarse shrieks of death

What shall become of me on the Day of Judgement?

Forgive me child!

10. The Living Flame

11. Under Saison En Enfer


12. Contemplation

Thou, O my Grief!
Be wise and tranquil still
the eve is thine which even now drops down
to carry peace or care to human will
and in a misty veil enfolds the town.

While the vile mortals of the multitude
by pleasure, cruel tormentor, goaded on
gather remorseful blossoms in light mood-
grief, place thy hand in mine, let us be gone.

Far from them. Lo, see how the vanished years
in robes outworn lean over heaven's rim
and from the water, smiling through her tears
Remorse arises, and the sun grows dim
and in the east, her long shroud trailing light
list, O my grief, the gentle steps of Night!!

13. Dawn

I have kissed the summer dawn
before the palaces
nothing moved
the water lay dead.

Battalions of shadows
still kept the forest road
i walked, walking warm
and vital breath
while stones watched
and wings rose soundlessly.

...a clear pale light
...a flower who told me its name

I came upon the goddess
Then one by one
I lifted her veils
across the meadow
where I betrayed her to the cock.

I hunted her
And I hunted her!

And smelled the scent
of her immense body.

Dawn and the child fell together
at the bottom of the wood
When I awoke, it was noon.

Life was it really this?

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