12 January 2008

Francis Ponge

[Francis Ponge from Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers, edited by Mark Strand and Charles Simic, 1976]

Water [excerpt, Beth Archer, tr.]

LIQUID, by definition, is
that which chooses to obey gravity
rather than maintain its form, which rejects all
form in order to obey gravity --
and which loses all dignity because of that
obsession, that pathological anxiety.
Because of that vice --
which makes it fast, flowing,
or stagnant, formless or fearsome, formless and
fearsome, piercingly fearsome in cases:
devious, filtering, winding --
one can do anything one
wants with it, even lead water
through pipes to make it spout out vertically,
so as to enjoy the way
it collapses in droplets:
a real slave.

The Pebble [excerpt, Cid Corman, tr.]

The great wheel of stone seems to us
practically immobile
and, even
theoretically we can understand
only a part of
the phase of its very slow

So much so that contrary to
common opinion which holds
it in the eyes of man as a symbol of
endurance and impassivity,
you can say in fact that
never re-forming in nature, is
in reality the only thing in it that dies,

[my line endings]

Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers

No comments:

Post a Comment