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This article is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

from Rue Traversière et autres récits en rêve Translated by Beverley Bie Brahic
Cross Street and Other Dream Tales
Yves Bonnefoy
A Fit of Laughter

It had somehow to do with an old man whose speciality - and why not? - was making wash drawings of laughter.

He is a sage, I was told. For a long time the only thing he's wanted to do is paint, with one broad sweep of his brush - yes, fits of laughter.

On tiptoe, through this gallery at the back of the bamboo garden we approached the door of his cell. Listen, they whispered (someone was laughing and laughing!), listen to the sound of the brush.



The Dawn of Before the Sign

A fragment of statue, back then, in the grass of the yard behind the basilica on Torcello.

It was a large head in grey stone, but so eroded by the centuries that its features had been all but effaced, and one might even wonder if there'd ever been a face there at all. Perhaps this figure was never anything but a vaguely anthropomorphic stone, picked out, brought close to the wall of the great church by a meditative sort of person who liked, during his few seasons, to contemplate in it the smallness of what separates life and things.

A few days after this I was on the other side of the sea, and very early one morning, even before dawn, I step out onto the balcony of my hotel room, which overlooked a little ...


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