“Are you sure a poet has the right to write that? He is the trifle collector. We never see him come out of his box. We defend ourselves as best we can. We remind him that the poet, in us, is this eye which refuses to look at things through the blinkers of a speech. This thought that seeks salt in the sluggish stream. This mouth that resists the sirens of “everything is already said, you are too late”.
And there are those times when humanity is beautiful. This does not prevent more. This woman who walks, look, in the perfume of the beauty she once had and who went to wait for her in a country she once called. This harsh-headed kid who wonders how he could battle the gray sky that passers-by carry on their backs like a heavy chimera. And this man, over there, who is trying to catch up with his importance at the end of the street, even him, his eyebrow annoyed that life does not give him his title, it is touching to feel him struggling in the water. a mirror in which he has not finished drowning.
The poem has always already begun. It does not end. It is death or night which, when they want, come to mark the punctuations. The poet, for his part, sows his hellos and his farewells, like encouragements in the house with the walls which are erased. And since most men have never been able to ask directions from a poem, they reserve for the poet one of those blessings of which they have the secret: they find him sympathetic with his quirks and his obstinacy, these suitcases he carries, from station to station, filled with repackaged images and impracticable pieties. But as for listening to what his poems have to say to the world so that it comes out of its forest of errors, that’s another story…
And, if it is necessary to confess it publicly, then I confess it: I have not given up writing the poem which, read in a certain skilfully improbable circumstance, will hold the hand of the executioner who is about to lash with his belt the child’s eyes asking for joy. I have not given up on finding the words which, formulated at the perfect moment, in a tone that is only possible to hear at the turn of frightening vigils, will restore a little light to the lost who no longer realizes that he is following her like a shadow and that his life is one long cry of desire.
The poem is the other prayer that is raised against the murder of souls. Against the desertion of interior lives that the world organizes to make itself believe that it exists. This world has become an immense Barnum where men pass indiscriminately from the bleachers to the track, from insult to derision, from a scarcity disguised as an orgy to another jubilation without a future. The poem is this word that blows on the last embers that men carry in the heart before their final extinction.
Another voice will say: “Poet, go do your shopping, the fridge is empty. The cleaning is waiting for you. It’s not your verb that will vacuum the foaming dust. Or darn your socks playing bandoneon at the foot of the bed. Or shine your gaping shoes as hoarse as your prophecies. She always begins with a reminder of contingencies, that voice, but where she wants to get to is this: “Not only has a poem never saved anyone, but poetry is not worth a penny. kopek: so write a good novel, at least, with characters you can look at in the mirror in the morning, and entertaining adventures. »
To which the poet replies that he does not know how to do anything other than hand out his bouquet of forget-me-nots to passers-by who are looking elsewhere. And that there is, in the smallest poem, even the most frumpy, enough to remake a world and an innocence.
One evening, a man sporting palms, pedigree and talkativeness, had the time, in a single sentence, cocktail style, to inform me that among his relations he counted a former minister still influential, a committed actress, the personal cardiologist of the cousin of a voice singer, a post office bigwig, a virtuoso heating engineer, a gondola-headed writer. He turned on his heels when I retorted that I too was up to date, that I was an old friend of Max Jacob and Pierre Reverdy.
The poet is the sentinel who was ordered, at the dawn of time, to guard the entrance to the garden. The unarmed soldier for whom the war is not over. When the era resumes its unbearable bite, he slips a rocket called poem into the hems of his dress, which ignites him. It immediately disappears in a fireworks display and becomes again what it has always been: wind. For a moment, there is a light that allows those who no longer believe in it to see that the garden still exists, and that it is waiting for them – just a stone’s throw from here.