Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Prodigal Son

from Mallarmé


Among women whose love is a dried-out orange
that keeps an old perfume when the gilded nectar is gone,
I sought the Infinite that makes man sin,
and found only a Gulf the enemy of sleep.

— The Infinite, proud dream that cradles in its swell
each star and every heart just like a fine sand!
— a Gulf, spiked with sour brambles, where
a fetid stream of make-up mixed with wine rolls on!


O mystical, o bleeding, o amorous woman
mad with the scent of candles and of incense, not knowing
what Demon warped you that evening when, in misery,
you licked a picture of the Sacred Heart,

your knees, calloused by dreamlike prayers,
I kiss them, and your feet that would becalm the sea;
I want to plunge my head between your stringy thighs
and weep my error under your bitter hair-shirt;

there, my saint, drunk on ecstatic perfumes,
in the oblivion of the black Gulf and of dear Infinity,
having sung very softly my long canticles,
I will put my pain to sleep on your young flesh.