Prose: Pour des Esseintes – A translation

(After Mallarmé)

Triumph of my memory!
Do you not remember when
Raised in a book by
Iron-clad men

We walked together
(There were two of us)
through sad lands to gather
Platonic gladiolas,

O sister of my complaint!
But found there something else—
as desire, ideas faint
like so many sunstroked bluebells—

Pulchritude, immense lacuna,
Laid out for our ideal arms
(O let the litigious spirit soon a-
Rrive) suspending our alarms.

For me, Astonishment;
The child abdicates his ecstasy
Like the monotone ravishment
Of the stalk outgrown its lily.

Before a sepulcher should exult,
Under any air, its good name,
Let it bear this—Anastasia!—difficult
Lozenge redolent of the same.


Stephen Ross