Stéphane Mallarmé


The windows





Tired of the fetid smell that climbs and sticks

In the banal whiteness of the curtains,

toward the empty wall’s great sickened crucifix

The sullen moribund in the sad ward


Lifts his old spine, and, less to see the stones

Sun-lit than to be warm as can decay,

Glues his white haffets and his thin cheek-bones

Upon the panes tanned by a loving ray.


His fevered mouth as greedy of azure is

As when it went to breathe, in days of old,

A virgin skin, and with a bitter kiss,

Long clinging, soils the lukewarm squares of gold.


Drunken he lives, forgetting strainèd herbs,

Cough, clock, the holy oils, the bed he dies on;

And when the evening bleeds upon the curbs,

His eye, where gorged with light is the horizon,


Sees golden galleons on a purple stream

Perfumed, as fair as swans are swim in trance,

Cradling their lines that with rich lightnings gleam

In a great sloth steeped in remembrance!




So, taken with disgust at hard-souled men,

Whose only appetites root in the dung

Of happiness, and, stubborn in the fen,

Offer it her who suckles them their young,


I flee, and, glued to every window, muse,

Turning to life my shoulder loathing it,

And in their glass washed by eternal dews,

Gilt by the chaste morn of the Infinite,


Reflected am an Angel! and I die,

And love, in panes of Art with mystery gloomed,

To be re-born, dream-crowned, in the earlier sky,

Where Beauty first burst from its bud and bloomed!


But Here-Below is Lord and Kind, alas!

Disgusting me even when I breathe my Rose,

And the vile vomit of the human ass

Makes me before the azure hold my nose.


Is there a means, I with the Bitter hedged,

To smash the glass the brute defiles,

and flee into the azure with my wings unfledged

– At the risk of falling through Eternity?



Stéphane Mallarmé – The windows




Stéphane Mallarmé

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