Stéphane Mallarmé

(1842-1898 / France)

Sonnet: ‘Le vierge, le vivace…’


The virginal, living and lovely day
Will it fracture for us with a drunken wing-blow
This solid lost lake whose frost’s haunted below
By the transparent glacier of flights not made?

A swan from time past remembers it’s he
Magnificent yet freeing himself hopelessly
Through not having sung of a liveable country
In the radiant boredom of winter’s sterility.

His neck will shake off this whitest agony
Space inflicts on a bird that denies it, wholly,
But not earth’s horror that traps his feathers.

Phantom assigned to this place by his brilliance,
In his useless exile swathed, motionless,
By the Swan’s cold dream of defiance.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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