Alphabet : Inédit by Paul Valéry

By Paul Valéry

"En présence de l. a. lumière, et toutefois hors d'elle, de los angeles fenêtre haute, l'Ange du monde entier, qui d'une voix d'azur et d'or, sur le seuil de ce jour et de l'espace libre, annonce les cieux, les campagnes, les mers, les étendues, les peuples et les déserts, proclame et représente le reste et le Tout, affirme toutes ces choses qui sont en ce second même et qui sont comme si elles n'étaient aspect ; en présence de mes mains, de mes puissances, de mes faiblesses, de mes modèles, et hors d'eux ; specific de mes jugements, également éloigné de tous les mots et de toutes les formes, séparé de mon nom, dépouillé de mon histoire, je ne suis que pouvoir et silence, je ne fais aspect partie de ce qui est éclairé par le soleil, et mes ténèbres abstention est plénitude. "

Alors qu'il venait d'acquérir vingt-quatre lettrines gravées, un éditeur demanda à Valéry d'y associer vingt-quatre poèmes en prose dont chacun commencerait par une lettre différente. L'écrivain se proposa aussitôt d'y évoquer les vingt-quatre heures du jour, composa le recueil sans tout à fait l'achever, mais ne le publia pas. A certaines lettres de l'alphabet correspondent donc plusieurs poèmes, et c'est l'ensemble de ces textes qui se trouve ici rassemblé pour l. a. première fois.

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Example text

I remember Every father when he is wrestling with his son. Oh Lord of the Four Quarters—he is destined to lose! You gypsy singers, make some raw cries! Call in the crows to fly over the plowed fields. I want the beating palms to cry out for Samson. I want rough voices and shouting women To cry out against the blinding of Samson. I will always cry—take away those knives! Isn’t it enough that the Evening Star sets every night And lovemaking ends at dawn? Please, God, help The human beings, for men are coming to blind Samson.

31 The Nest in Which We Were Born Have we forgotten the nest in which we were born? Have we forgotten the scrawny heads and the stickly floor? Have we forgotten the cries and the wide-open beaks? How old were we before we forgave those Other ones in the nest? Probably it is our own Necks that should be swinging in the wind. Last night I dreamt my brother drowned. His body Did not come in, and he had a wife and children. Waves kept arriving. At last I saw his shirt. We are in a rowboat halfway over the ocean With the oars broken.

Perhaps they are riders who have turned into horses. A world without horses coming up behind us Seems absurd to me now. Ride faster! Why did I let so many centuries go by? You know how difficult it is to receive a human Body these days at birth! Don’t lose this chance! Clamp your legs tight against the saddle. You’ve given me a bridle and a saddle and a horse That can go on for miles. But it’s always possible That I am the rider destined to lose the race. It doesn’t matter now. We don’t care whether Anna and Vronsky find their way home or not, Because there is so much joy in losing the race.

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