poet Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé

The Azure

The serene irony of the eternal Sky
Depresses, with the indolence of flowers,
The impotent poet cursing poetry
Across a sterile waste of leaden Hours.

Fleeing, with eyes shut fast, I feel it blight
With all the intensity of crushing remorse
My empty soul. Where can I fly? What haggard night
Can stifle this scornful torment at its source?

Roll in, you fogs, and pour out ashen haze
In tattered rags of mist traversing heaven;
Smother the livid swamp of autumn days
And roof them in a grand and silent haven!

And you, dear Boredom, rise from Lethean pools,
Dredging their shoals for pallid reeds and slime;
Block with unwearying hand the great blue holes
Malicious birds keep gouging time after time.

Still unremitting! let sad chimneys smoke,
And let the smothering soot, a wandering prison,
In blackening trains of horror rise and choke
The sun now fading yellow on the horizon!

- The Sky is dead. - Toward you I run!
Bestow, O matter,
Forgetfulness of Sin and the cruel Ideal
Upon this martyr who comes to share the litter
Where the happy herd of men is made to kneel.

For there I long, because at last my brain,
Like an empty rouge-pot on a dressing stand,
Has lost the art of decking out its pain,
To yawn morosely toward a humble end…

In vain! The Azure triumphs. I hear it sing
In all the bells. The more to frighten us,
It rises in its wicked glorying
From living metal, a blue angelus.

It rolls in with the fog, and like a sword
It penetrates your inmost agony.
Revolt or flight is useless and absurd;
For I am haunted. The Sky! the Sky! the Sky! the Sky!

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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