by Stéphane Mallarmé
“The flesh is sad, Alas! and I have read all the books.
Let’s go! Far off. Let’s go! I sense
that the birds, intoxicated, fly
deep into unknown spume and sky!
Nothing – not even old gardens mirrored by eyes –
can restrain this heart that drenches itself in the sea,
O nights, or the abandoned light of my lamp,
on the void of paper, that whiteness defends,
no, not even the young woman feeding her child.
I will go! Steamer, straining at your ropes
lift your anchor towards an exotic rawness!
A Boredom, made desolate by cruel hope
still believes in the last goodbye of handkerchiefs!
And perhaps the masts, inviting lightning,
are those the gale bends over shipwrecks,
lost, without masts, without masts, no fertile islands…
But, oh my heart, listen to the sailors’ chant!”
Stéphane Mallarmé died on this day in 1898, you can read more of his work through Surrey Libraries.
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