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This poem is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

Interlude: Visionary Anger translated by Andrew Rubens and Henry King
from Exodus
Benjamin Fondane
I

And I said to my vision: ‘So what is Exodus?
What is Babylon? What is Jerusalem?
If there is not, in the world and under the world, a river,
that runs, unseen, beneath the appearance of peace,
if no one worries about the innumerable leaves
of the forest,
if human cries fall to the ground
like chestnuts, as the wind wills,
without disturbing the peace of Angels,
what then is Exodus?
If there is really no eternal thing
– what is it then?’
And I was abruptly thrown into the countryside of France.


II

From the Somme to the Loire
misfortune fell upon our weapons and the Meuse cried:
‘Flee!’
And suddenly we were fleeing like the russet rain
of autumn, gurgling in the hollow gutters
...


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