for des Esseintes, from Mallarmé
Hyperbole! from my memory
triumphantly don't you know
how to lift yourself, today's glamour
bound in a book in iron:
for I install, by science,
the heartfelt spiritual
in the labour of my patience,
atlas, herbal and ritual.
We took our face for a walk
(I still say we were plural)
on the landscape's many charms,
O sister, comparing them to yours.
The era of authority is flustered
when people say, with no motive,
of this midday land our double
that, soil of the hundred irises, its site
— they know if it really existed —
bears no name cited by
the gold of Summer's trumpet.
Yes, on an island charged by the air
with sights but not for seers
all the flowers loomed extra large
without our mentioning it:
So immense that each one
in a lucid outline, lacuna se-
parating it from the gardens.
Glory of the long desire, Ideas
all of them in me leapt to see
the family of the iridees
rise to this new duty,
but that sane and tender sister
bent her regard no more sharply
than to smile, and as if attentive
I take up my antique care.
Spirit of litigation, know
that in this our silent hour,
the stem of multiple lilies
outgrew our reasoning power
and not the way the shoreline weeps,
rigging its zero-sum game
that an amplitude might enter
into my young being, stunned
to hear the whole sky and the map without end
bear witness above my footsteps,
even through the parting wave,
that this country did not exist.
The infant abdicates its ecstasy
and, dux of the ways already,
she says the word: Anastase!
Born for eternal parchments,
her grandfather, in all weathers,
in case a tomb should laugh
to bear this name: Pulcheria!
hidden by the too-large gladiolus.