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by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Zone

ZONE 


In the end you are tired of this ancient world 
Shepherd oh Eiffel Tower the herd of bridges is bleating this morning 

You've had enough of living in Greek and Roman antiquity 

Here even the cars look antique 
Only religion has stayed new religion 
Has stayed simple like the hangars at Port-Aviation 

You alone in Europe are not ancient oh Christianity 
The most modern European is you Pope Pius X 
And shame keeps you whom the windows are watching 
From entering a church and going to confession this morning 
You read the flyers catalogues posters that shout out 
There's the morning's poetry and as for prose there are the newspapers 
There are 25 cent tabloids full of crimes 
Celebrity items and a thousand different headlines 

This morning I saw a pretty street whose name I forget 
New and clean it was the sun's herald 
Executives workers and beautiful stenos 
Cross it four times a day from Monday morning to Saturday evening 
In the morning the siren moans three times 
An angry bell barks at noon 
The inscriptions on the signs and walls 
The billboards the notices squawk like parrots 
I love the charm of this industrial street 
In Paris between the Rue Aumont-Thiéville and the Avenue des Ternes 

There's the young street and you're still just a little boy 
Your mother dresses you only in blue and white 
You're very pious and along with your oldest friend René Dalize 
You like nothing better than the rituals of the Church 
It is nine o'clock the gas is low and blue you sneak out of the dormitory 
You pray all night in the school's chapel 
While in eternal adorable amethyst depths 
The flaming glory of Christ revolves forever 
It's the beautiful lily we all cultivate 
It's the torch with red hair the wind can't blow out 
It's the pale rosy son of the grieving mother 
It's the tree always leafy with prayers 
It's the paired gallows of honor and eternity 
It's the star with six branches 
It's God who dies on Friday and comes back to life on Sunday 
It's Christ who climbs to the sky better than any pilot 
He holds the world record for altitude 

Apple Christ of the eye 
Twentieth pupil of the centuries he knows how to do it 
And changed into a bird this century like Jesus climbs into the air 
Devils in their depths raise their heads to look at him 
They say he's copying Simon Magus in Judea 
They shout if he's so good at flying let's call him a fugitive 
Angels gyre around the handsome gymnast 
Icarus Enoch Elijah Apollonius of Tyana 
Hover around the first airplane 
They scatter sometimes to let the ones carrying the Eucharist pass 
Those priests that are forever ascending carrying the host 
Finally the plane lands without folding its wings 
And the sky is full of millions of swallows 
Crows falcons owls come in full flight 
Ibises flamingos storks come from Africa 
The Roc Bird made famous by storytellers and poets 
Soars holding in its claws Adam's skull the first head 
The eagle swoops screaming from the horizon 
And from America the little hummingbird comes 
From China the long agile peehees have come 
They have only one wing and fly in pairs 
Now here's the dove immaculate spirit 
Escorted by the lyre-bird and the spotted peacock 
The phoenix that self-engendering pyre 
For an instant hides all with its burning ash 
Sirens leaving the dangerous straits 
Arrive singing beautifully all three 
And all eagle phoenix peehees from China 
Hang out with the flying Machine 

Now you're walking in Paris all alone in the crowd 
Herds of buses amble by you mooing 
The anguish of love tightens your throat 
As if you were never going to be loved again 
If you lived in the old days you would enter a monastery 
You are ashamed when you catch yourself saying a prayer 
You make fun of yourself and your laughter crackles like the fire of Hell 
The sparks of your laughter gild the abyss of your life 
It is a painting hung in a dark museum 
And sometimes you go look at it close up 

Today you're walking in Paris the women have turned blood-red 
It was and I wish I didn't remember it was at the waning of beauty 
Surrounded by fervent flames Our Lady looked at me in Chartres 
The blood of your Sacred Heart drenched me in Montmartre 
I am sick from hearing blissful phrases 
The love I suffer from is a shameful sickness 
And the image that possesses you makes you survive in insomnia and anguish 
It is always near you this image that passes 

Now you're on the shores of the Mediterranean 
Under the lemon trees that are in flower all year long 
You go boating with some friends 
One is from Nice there's one from Menton and two from La Turbie 
We look with dread at the octopus of the deep 
And among the seaweed fish are swimming symbols of the Savior 

You are in the garden of an inn just outside of Prague 
You feel so happy a rose is on the table 
And you observe instead of writing your story in prose 
The Japanese beetle sleeping in the heart of the rose 

Terrified you see yourself drawn in the agates of Saint Vitus 
You were sad enough to die the day you saw yourself 
You look like Lazarus thrown into a panic by the daylight 
The hands on the clock in the Jewish district go counter-clockwise 
And you too are going slowly backwards in your life 
Climbing up to Hradcany and listening at night 
To Czech songs being sung in taverns 

Here you are in Marseilles in the middle of watermelons 

Here you are in Coblenz at the Giant Hotel 

Here you are in Rome sitting under a Japanese medlar tree 

Here you are in Amsterdam with a young woman you think is beautiful she is ugly 
She is engaged to a student from Leyden 
There they rent rooms in Latin Cubicula Locanda 
I remember I spent three days there and just as many in Gouda 

You are in Paris getting interrogated 
They're arresting you like a criminal 

You made some miserable and happy journeys 
Before you became aware of lies and of age 
You suffered from love at twenty and at thirty 
I've lived like a madman and I've wasted my time 
You don't dare look at your hands anymore and all the time I want to cry 
Over you over the women I love over everything that's terrified you 

Your tear-filled eyes watch the poor emigrants 
They believe in God they pray the women breast-feed the children 
They fill the waiting-room at the St.
Lazaire station with their smell They have faith in their star like the Magi They hope to earn money in Argentina And go back to their country after making their fortune One family is carrying a red eiderdown the way you carry your heart The eiderdown and our dreams are equally unreal Some of these emigrants stay here and put up at the Rue des Rosiers or the Rue des Ecouffes in hovels I've seen them often at night they're out for a breath of air in the street And like chess pieces they rarely move They are mostly Jews the wives wearing wigs Sit still bloodless at the back of store-fronts You're standing in front of the counter at a sleazy bar You're having coffee for two sous with the down-and-out At night you're in a big restaurant These women aren't mean but they do have their troubles All of them even the ugliest has made her lover suffer She is a Jersey policeman's daughter Her hands that I hadn't seen are hard and chapped I feel immense pity for the scars on her belly I humble my mouth now to a poor hooker with a horrible laugh You are alone morning is approaching Milkmen clink their cans in the streets Night withdraws like a half-caste beauty Ferdine the false or thoughtful Leah And you drink this alcohol burning like your life Your life that you drink like an eau-de-vie You walk towards Auteuil you want to go home on foot To sleep surrounded by your fetishes from the South Seas and from Guinea They are Christs in another form and from a different creed They are lower Christs of dim expectations Goodbye Goodbye Sun neck cut from Alcools, 1913 Translation copyright Charlotte Mandell


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Rhénane dAutomne

 Mon verre est plein d'un vin trembleur comme une flamme
Ecoutez la chanson lente d'un batelier
Qui raconte avoir vu sous la lune sept femmes
Tordre leurs cheveux verts et longs jusqu'à leurs pieds

Debout chantez plus haut en dansant une ronde
Que je n'entende plus le chant du batelier
Et mettez près de moi toutes les filles blondes
Au regard immobile aux nattes repliées

Le Rhin le Rhin est ivre où les vignes se mirent
Tout l'or des nuits tombe en tremblant s'y refléter
La voix chante toujours à en râle-mourir
Ces fées aux cheveux verts qui incantent l'été

Mon verre s'est brisé comme un éclat de rire


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Le Pont Mirabeau

 Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine.
Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure Les jours s'en vont je demeure Les mains dans les mains restons face à face Tandis que sous Le pont de nos bras passe Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure Les jours s'en vont je demeure L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante L'amour s'en va Comme la vie est lente Et comme l'Espérance est violente Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure Les jours s'en vont je demeure Passent les jours et passent les semaines Ni temps passé Ni les amours reviennent Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Les Colchiques

 Le pré est vénéneux mais joli en automne
Les vaches y paissant
Lentement s'empoisonnent
Le colchique couleur de cerne et de lilas
Y fleurit tes yeux sont comme cette fleur-la
Violatres comme leur cerne et comme cet automne
Et ma vie pour tes yeux lentement s'empoisonne

Les enfants de l'école viennent avec fracas
Vêtus de hoquetons et jouant de l'harmonica
Ils cueillent les colchiques qui sont comme des mères
Filles de leurs filles et sont couleur de tes paupières
Qui battent comme les fleurs battent au vent dément

Le gardien du troupeau chante tout doucement
Tandis que lentes et meuglant les vaches abandonnent
Pour toujours ce grand pré mal fleuri par l'automne


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Marizibill

 Dans la Haute-Rue à Cologne
Elle allait et venait le soir
Offerte à tous en tout mignonne
Puis buvait lasse des trottoirs
Très tard dans les brasseries borgnes

Elle se mettait sur la paille
Pour un maquereau roux et rose
C'était un juif il sentait l'ail
Et l'avait venant de Formose
Tirée d'un bordel de Changaï

Je connais des gens de toutes sortes
Ils n'égalent pas leurs destins
Indécis comme feuilles mortes
Leurs yeux sont des feux mal éteints
Leurs coeurs bougent comme leurs portes


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

LAdieu

 J'ai cueilli ce brin de bruyère
L'automne est morte souviens-t'en
Nous ne nous verrons plus sur terre
Odeur du temps Brin de bruyère
Et souviens-toi que je t'attends


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Mirabeau Bridge

 Under Mirabeau Bridge runs the Seine
And our loves
Must I remember them
Joy came always after pain
Let arriving night explain
Days fade I remain
Arm in arm let us stay face to face
While below
The bridge at our hands passes
With eternal regards the wave so slow
Let arriving night explain 
Days fade I remain
Love goes like this water flows
Love goes
Like life is slow
And like hope is violent
Let arriving night explain
Days fade I remain
The days passed and the weeks spent
Not times past
Nor loves sent return again
Under Mirabeau bridge runs the Seine


by Guillaume Apollinaire | |

Les Fenêtres

 Du rouge au vert tout le jaune se meurt
Quand chantent les aras dans les forêts natales
Abatis de pihis
Il y a un poème à faire sur l'oiseau qui n'a qu'une aile
Nous l'enverron en message téléphonique
Truamatisme géant
Il fait couler les yeux
Voilà une jolie jeune fille parmi les jeunes Turinaises
Le pauvre jeune homme se mouchait dans sa cravate blanche
Tu soulèveras le rideau
Et maintenant voilà que s'ouvre la fenêtre
Araignées quand les mains tissaient la lumière
Beauté pâleur insondables violets
Nous tenterons en vain de prendre du repos
On commencera à minuit
Quand on a le temps on a la liberté
Bignorneaux Lotte multiples Soleils et l'Oursin du couchant
Une vielle paire de chaussures jaunes devant la fenêtre
Tours
Les Tours ce sont les rues
Puits
Puits ce sont les places
Puits
Arbres creux qui abritent les Câpresses vagabondes
Les Chabins chantent des airs à mourir
Aux Chabines marrones
Et l'oie oua-oua trompette au nord
Où le train blanc de neige et de feux nocturnes fuit l'hiver
O Paris
Du rouge au vert tout le jaune se meurt
Paris Vancouver Hyères Maintenon New-York et les Antilles
Le fenêtre s'ouvre comme une orange
Le beau fruit de la lumière