PAUL ELUARD
     from A MORAL LESSON

 

           EVERYTHING IS ONE


On the side of evil:

Evening and the pincers of solitude
Evening in which everything has been said
Nothing offers a way out
Under the cold under the paleness
Of the weather like a cadaver
Here I play the tragic role of one resigned
The chess game of those who only pretend to live
A block of oblivion has filled up my empty hands
I no longer know how to have a body
I no longer know how to have a perfect face
I forget life I am atrociously exposed
I am stripped bare like an outline like a sketch
Under the raw night of a death sentence obstructed
Under the iridescence of derisory tears
No not submissive but exhausted
I am a man without seasons a man absent
Reduced to nothing a draft of a man left to the cemetery

And I deplore the pain because it was faithful
Changing and beautiful it split my forehead in two
Freezing always burning the same mortal heart
Everything already there in advance both love and death
In this old-fashioned world I’ve supposedly lived
A golden heart had to struggle and bleed to live
Autumn had a reason.


On the side of good:

Evening and the pincers of solitude
I want to confess everything
I blush to be in autumn
When I think I am in May
Tonight

Under the coolness under the heat under the color
Of living time amphoral
Under the fluctuation
Of November and of May
I strike poses
I pretend to be concerned about my past
Ever the nostalgic one
See what a convincing player I am
I make people smile and laugh
At the cult of my own melancholy

Oh but I really know how to cry
Like a let down child like an invincible man
They are equal when shrouded in injustice
They whom fire makes innocent
Whom hope makes heavy with countless leaves

I like to say yes I know how to agree
With the sea with the forest with only my ten fingers
With my eyes with my ears
For that is my desire that is my pleasure
I came to the light with a light step
I was not born alone
My nakedness had its sisters
And like water given over to these evening passions
I give birth to swarms of insects
I am the cloud ablaze

Dawn awakens and I awaken
And the promise of being happy
Follows my oath to be immortal
I follow myself and the human face
Has so many different aspects under the sun
I could be filled by them
The sap rises and the earth grows
And I win the most difficult battle
Everything is one the sea and the earth
And the light and the visible men
The future right now and without limits

All forms of life
Have molded my behavior
I come undone I untie myself
My dreams belong to the world
Luminous and perpetual
And I am obedient in the eyes
Of each child and of its mother
The young wheat of my love
Gives wisdom to all men
There is no heart that wishes to suffer
No heart that is not good not strong
Like the stalk that is ripe and fertile
Reveals our own light to us

The seeds follow the furrow
Of my love far off in time
In the past nothing but shadows
In the future no enemies

Nothing but hope and trust
The same good the same strength.

 

           THE SEVEN VEILS


On the side of evil:

In the flow of stone
In the resolute past

My life lasts for ages

In the flow of flesh
In the mother-of-pearl lung of water

In the vine of blood

In limbs planted
Deeper than my eyes

In the revered word

My life materializes
But also my reason for dying shamelessly.


On the side of good:

Gray dawn eyes made dull
Hunger quieted by alms

Wound bandaged by the enemy
Wound licked by a friend

The house inhabited even by disaster
Even torn-up roads

Soft hands damaged
Pink lips faded

A hunt without prey
A rope without a hanged man
A woman without children

The walls of my blindness
Everything surrounding my vision
A voice without question
A deafness in solitude

A hypothetical past
A certain future
A love that will end

           I regret nothing
           I move forward.

 

           THE DESPAIR NEED TO LOVE


On the side of evil:

The storm abates the rain falls off
And the sun makes a hollow sound
Blow little pigs cry crows
Children drool in cellars

The black cold settles down in little windows
He who cannot fully live lives a little
Knowledge gives alms to ignorance
Rust has golden roots

Beautiful flesh is a thorn
The lip freezes in a kiss
One slides in the mud of the heart
The dead live in palaces

Whoever you are grab a weapon
And avenge yourself of this disaster
The mirrors have multiplied
So that one evening you cease to see yourself in them.


On the side of good:

How wondrous it is to love again
In spite of the endless wall
Like a miner who ponders day
During the day his heart inspires his climb
You are not there your body exists
And the stars of your hands
Although concealed are always present

See the poet transforms himself
I dream I have always dreamed
Of dusk in negative
And the wonder could have been
Not to have been born to be absent
But you are worth having been
And being in spite of nothingness

I know your breasts I know your heart
Your eyes that open in my eyes
Even though I am an old blind man in my dreams
To love you sing loudly enough at night
To light up a world
Other than that of my own life
Loving you links me with mankind.

Translated by Lisa Lubasch
forthcoming from Green Integer Books, 2003

“The Despair Need To Love” was first published in Jubilat, 2002.


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