Guillaume Apollinaire

(26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918 / Rome)

In the Sante


I

Before I got into my cell
I had to strip my body bare
I heard an ominous voice say Well
Guillaume what are you doing here

Lazarus steps into the ground
Not out of it as he was bid
Adieu Adieu O singing round
Of years and girls the life I led


II

I'm no longer myself in here
I know
I'm number fifteen in the eleventh
Row

The sunlight filters downward through
The panes
And on these lines bright clowns alight
Like stains

They dance under my eyes while my
Ears follow
The feet of one whose feet above
Sound hollow


III

In a bear-pit like a bear
Every morning round I tramp
Round and round and round and round
The sky is like an iron clamp
In a bear-pit like a bear
Every morning round I tramp

In the next cell at the sink
Someone lets the water run
With his bunch of keys that clink
Let the goaler go and come
In the next cell at the sink
Someone lets the water run


IV

How bored I am between bare wall and wall
Whose colour pales and pines
A fly on the paper with extremely small
Steps runs across these lines

What will become of me O God Who know
My pain Who gave it me
Have pity on my dry eyes and my pallor
My chair which creaks and is not free

And all these poor hearts beating in this prison
And Love beside me seated
Pity above all my unstable reason
And this despair which threatens to defeat it



V

How long these hours take to go
As long as a whole funeral

You'll mourn the time you mourned you know
It will be gone too soon like all
Time past
too fast too long ago


VI

I hear the noises of the city
In the turning world beyond me
I see a sky which has no pity
And bare prison walls around me

The daylight disappears and now
A lamp is lit within the prison
We're all alone here in my cell
Beautiful light Beloved reason

Submitted: Thursday, April 19, 2012

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