Autumn already!... But why regret the everlasting sun, if we are
sworn to a search for divine brightness-- far from those who die as
Autumn. Our boat, risen out of a hanging fog, turns toward poverty's
harbor, the monstrous city, its sky stained with fire and mud. Ah!
Those stinking rags, bread soaked with rain, drunkenness, and
the thousands of loves who nailed me to the cross! Will there never,
ever be an end to that ghoulish queen of a million dead souls and
bodies and who will all be judged!, I can see myself again, my
skin corroded by dirt and disease, hair and armpits crawling with
worms, and worms still larger crawling in my heart, stretched out
among ageless, heartless, unknown figures.... I could easily have
died there.... What a horrible memory! I detest poverty.
And I dread winter because it's so cozy!
--Sometimes in the sky I see endless sandy shores covered with white
rejoicing nations. A great golden ship, above me, flutters
many-colored pennants in the morning breeze. I was the creator of
every feast, every triumph, every drama. I tried to invent new
flowers, new planets, new flesh, new languages. I thought I had
acquired supernatural powers. Ha! I have to bury my imagination and
my memories! What an end to a splendid career as an artist and
I! I called myself a magician, an angel, free from all moral
constraint.... I am sent back to the soil to
seek some obligation, to wrap gnarled reality in my arms. A peasant!
Am I deceived? Would Charity be the sister of death, for me?
Well, I shall ask forgiveness for having lived on lies. And that's
But not one friendly hand... and where can I look for help?
True; the new era is nothing if not harsh.
For I can say that I have gained a victory; the gnashing of teeth,
the hissing of hellfire, the stinking sighs subside. All my monstrous
memories are fading. My last longings depart-- jealousy of beggars,
bandits, friends of death, all those that the world passed by--
Damned souls, if I were to take vengance!
One must be absolutely modern.
Never mind hymns of thanksgiving: hold on to a step once taken. A
hard night! Dried blood smokes on my face, and nothing lies behind
me but that repulsive little tree! The battle for the soul is as
brutal as the battles of men; but the sight of justice is the
pleasure of God alone.
Yet this is the watch by night. Let us all accept new strength, and
real tenderness. And at dawn, armed with glowing patience, we will
enter the cities of glory.
Why did I talk about a friendly hand! My great advantage is that I
can laugh at old love affairs full of falsehood, and stamp with shame
such deceitful couples-- I went through women's Hell over there--
and I will be able now to possess the truth within one body and one