Guillaume Apollinaire

(26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918 / Rome)

Vitam Impendere Amori - Poem by Guillaume Apollinaire

(Vitam Impendere Amori: To Threaten Life for Love)

Love is dead within your arms
Do you remember his encounter
He’s dead you restore the charms
He returns at your encounter

Another spring of springs gone past
I think of all its tenderness
Farewell season done at last
You’ll return as tenderly

****

In the evening light that’s faded
Where our several loves brush by
Your memory lies enchained
Far from our shades that die

O hands bound by memory
Burning like a funeral pyre
Where the last black Phoenix
Perfection comes to respire

Link by link the chain wears thin
Deriding us your memory
Flies ah hear it you who rail
I kneel again at your feet

****

You’ve not surprised my secret yet
Already the cortège moves on
But left to us is the regret
of there being no connivance none

The rose floats at the water’s edge
The maskers have passed by in crowds
It trembles in me like a bell
This heavy secret you ask now

****

Evening falls and in the garden
Women tell their histories
to Night that not without disdain
spills their dark hair’s mysteries

Little children little children
Your wings have flown away
But you rose that defend yourself
Throw your unrivalled scents away

For now’s the hour of petty theft
Of plumes of flowers and of tresses
Gather the fountain jets so free
Of whom the roses are mistresses

****

You descended through the water clear
I drowned my self so in your glance
The soldier passes she leans down
Turns and breaks away a branch

You float on nocturnal waves
The flame is my own heart reversed
Coloured as that comb’s tortoiseshell
The wave that bathes you mirrors well

****
O my abandoned youth is dead
Like a garland faded
Here the season comes again
Of suspicion and disdain

The landscape’s formed of canvasses
A false stream of blood flows down
And under the tree the stars glow fresh
The only passer by’s a clown

The glass in the frame has cracked
An air defined uncertainly
Hovers between sound and thought
Between ‘to be’ and memory

O my abandoned youth is dead
Like a garland faded
Here the season comes again
Of suspicion and disdain


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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