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This poem is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

The Dirge of the Wise Man of Paris (translated by C. Middleton) Jules Laforgue

To love-just these ephemeral skirts alone?
It'd be like saying 'Happy Centenary' to the sun.

But in their fugitive gardens you can taste, unique,
A concourse of the All at their dolls' picnic;

Taste, conducting rites that are reciprocal,
Unconscious stuff, boiled, in their eggshell.

Executor, perhaps, of the Law's writ and Estate,
With all your faith you will pontificate;

These anonymous solfeggios, perhaps, you'll vivisect
For the art of it, and never their ultimate do expect,

For don't think that the host where sleeps your heaven
Has in its flour an unimagined leaven.

Well, anyway, their eyes are all! And the table's laid,
On the juvenile Organ blind improvisations are played,

And-no wedding, honeymoon, or baggage at all,
No cancans, no shared bed stale as the air in a hospital-
...


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