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The Human Face

Written by: Paul Eluard | Biography
 I. Soon 

Of all the springtimes of the world 
This one is the ugliest 
Of all of my ways of being 
To be trusting is the best 

Grass pushes up snow 
Like the stone of a tomb 
But I sleep within the storm 
And awaken eyes bright 

Slowness, brief time ends 
Where all streets must pass 
Through my innermost recesses 
So that I would meet someone 

I don’t listen to monsters 
I know them and all that they say 
I see only beautiful faces 
Good faces, sure of themselves 
Certain soon to ruin their masters 

II. The women’s role 

As they sing, the maids dash forward 
To tidy up the killing fields 
Well-powdered girls, quickly to their knees 

Their hands -- reaching for the fresh air -- 
Are blue like never before 
What a glorious day! 

Look at their hands, the dead 
Look at their liquid eyes 

This is the toilet of transience 
The final toilet of life 
Stones sink and disappear 
In the vast, primal waters 
The final toilet of time 

Hardly a memory remains 
the dried-up well of virtue 
In the long, oppressive absences 
One surrenders to tender flesh 
Under the spell of weakness 

III. As deep as the silence 

As deep as the silence 
Of a corpse under ground 
With nothing but darkness in mind 

As dull and deaf 
As autumn by the pond 
Covered with stale shame 

Poison, deprived of its flower 
And of its golden beasts 
out its night onto man 

IV. Patience 

You, my patient one 
My patience 
My parent 
Head held high and proudly 
Organ of the sluggish night 
Bow down 
Concealing all of heaven 
And its favor 
Prepare for vengeance 
A bed where I'll be born 

V. First march, the voice of another 

Laughing at sky and planets 
Drunk with their confidence 
The wise men wish for sons 
And for sons from their sons 

Until they all perish in vain 
Time burdens only fools 
While Hell alone prospers 
And the wise men are absurd 

VI. A wolf 

Day surprises me and night scares me 
haunts me and winter follows me 
An animal walking on the snow has placed 
Its paws in the sand or in the mud 

Its paws have traveled 
From further afar than my own steps 
On a path where death 
Has the imprints of life 

VII. A flawless fire 

The threat under the red sky 
Came from below -- jaws 
And scales and links 
Of a slippery, heavy chain 

Life was spread about generously 
So that death took seriously 
The debt it was paid without a thought 

Death was the God of love 
And the conquerors in a kiss 
Swooned upon their victims 
Corruption gained courage 

And yet, beneath the red sky 
Under the appetites for blood 
Under the dismal starvation 
The cavern closed 

The kind earth filled 
The graves dug in advance 
Children were no longer afraid 
Of maternal depths 

And madness and stupidity 
And vulgarity make way 
For humankind and brotherhood 
No longer fighting against life -- 
For an everlasting humankind 

VIII. Liberty 

On my school notebooks 
On my desk, on the trees 
On the sand, on the snow 
I write your name 
On all the read pages 
On all the empty pages 
Stone, blood, paper or ash 
I write your name 

On the golden images 
On the weapons of warriors 
On the crown of kings 
I write your name 

On the jungle and the desert 
On the nests, on the broom 
On the echo of my childhood 
I write your name 

On the wonders of nights 
On the white bread of days 
On the seasons betrothed 
I write your name 

d'azur On all my blue rags 
On the sun-molded pond 
On the moon-enlivened lake 
I write your name 

On the fields, on the horizon 
On the wings of birds 
And on the mill of shadows 
I write your name 

On every burst of dawn 
On the sea, on the boats 
On the insane mountain 
I write your name 

On the foam of clouds 
On the sweat of the storm 
On the rain, thick and insipid 
I write your name 

On the shimmering shapes 
On the colorful bells 
On the physical truth 
I write your name

On the alert pathways 
On the wide-spread roads 
On the overflowing places 
I write your name 

On the lamp that is ignited 
On the lamp that is dimmed 
On my reunited houses 
I write your name 

On the fruit cut in two 
Of the mirror and of my room 
On my bed, an empty shell 
I write your name 

On my dog, young and greedy 
On his pricked-up ears 
On his clumsy paw 
I write your name 

On the springboard of my door 
On the familiar objects 
On the wave of blessed fire 
I write your name 

On all harmonious flesh 
On the face of my friends 
On every out-stretched hand 
I write your name 

On the window-pane of surprises 
On the careful lips 
Well-above silence 
I write your name 

On my destroyed shelter 
On my collapsed beacon 
On the walls of my weariness 
I write your name 

On absence without want 
On naked solitude 
On the steps of death 
I write your name 

On regained health 
On vanished risk 
On hope free from memory 
I write your name 

And by the power of one word 
I begin my life again 
I am born to know you 

To call you by name: Liberty!



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