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(20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891 / Charleville, Ardennes)

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After The Flood

As soon as the idea of the Deluge had subsided,
A hare stopped in the clover and swaying flowerbells,
and said a prayer to the rainbow,
through the spider's web.

Oh! the precious stones that began to hide,--
and the flowers that already looked around.
In the dirty main street, stalls were set up
and boats were hauled toward the sea,
high tiered as in old prints.

Blood flowed at Blue Beard's,--
through slaughterhouses, in circuses,
where the windows were blanched by God's seal.
Blood and milk flowed. Beavers built.

'Mazagrans' smoked in the little bars.
In the big glass house, still dripping,
children in mourning looked
at the marvelous pictures.

A door banged; and in the village square
the little boy waved his arms,
understood by weather vanes
and cocks on steeples everywhere,
in the bursting shower.

Madame *** installed a piano in the Alps.
Mass and first communions were celebrated
at the hundred thousand altars of the cathedral.
Caravans set out. And Hotel Splendid was built
in the chaos of ice and of the polar night.

Ever after the moon heard jackals howling
across the deserts of thyme,
and eclogues in wooden shoes growling in the orchard.
Then in the violet and budding forest,
Eucharis told me it was spring.

Gush, pond,-- Foam, roll on the bridge and over the woods;--
black palls and organs, lightening and thunder, rise and roll;--
waters and sorrows rise and launch the Floods again.
For since they have been dissipated--
oh! the precious stones being buried and the opened flowers!--
it's unbearable! and the Queen, the Witch who lights her fire
in the earthen pot will never tell us what she knows,
and what we do not know.

Submitted: Saturday, April 03, 2010


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  • Michael Morgan (2/17/2014 10:26:00 PM)

    This beautiful, magical poem is, in English, beside the point.

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