“If you have form'd a circle to go into,/Go into it yourself, and see how you would do” — William Blake


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Francis Ponge Six Poems by Francis Ponge (from Le Grand Recueil: Lyres)

Andrew BoobierBy Andrew Boobier

Grass (L'Herbe)

How can all flesh be as grass?
Keen, naked, always so cold-hearted,
Cool and unique,
not a thousand graces but a thousand grasses.

A very natural disposition.
Happy with their lot,
And certain in their antique attire,
They attend the beef-herd.

In Spring (Au Printemps)

There's no smoke without fire!

In Spring, a mouth beneath the earth draws cigars to green embers under the wood.

A racked body on the electric chair smokes from its transformation.

With the shooting jacket comes the smell of powder.

The scarf around the neck of the cannon's mouth,
After the soundless shot,
Relaxes and swaggers.

The Cloud (Le Nuage)

A soaking, icy linen drips, wiped from the brow it calms.
Where beads of transpiration form…
Across thousands of stars.

Thus, when it starts to melt, it stirs and imagines a gentle trail,
An apartment block of crystal feather dusters.

August Evening (Soir D'Août)

August, and the evening sun weaves us from the hammock
To its great pegs fixed to the boards;
Shuttles of blonde silk shoot through fabric lengths,
Sprung like vibrant threads
Or the buzz of tanned mosquitoes on heat.

Laze awhile and taste the honeyed hours
That dress our wounds like elastoplast.
Fauvist gold is the colour of waning glory,
Pleasant enough, whence pride is banned,
More nourishing and less self-satisfied.

…So the night draws us in, falls upon us,
Convokes you: horizontal bliss.

September Fifth (Cinq Sepembre)

The sky hesitates between mother-of-pearl and clay;
Everything is revealed, a many-sided mirror
Like a jeweled case discharging its pearl-grey
To white fire – even the trees and the grass
Are coated with a silver lacquer.

Things are thus admitted to the chorus
To stop them playing the hero's part.

This performance, before approaching Winter,
Is given in honour of a lordly Nature
That guards itself from its own tragedies
And rules in the guise of a savory feast;
Its mask and manner lie in ruin and the frost.

My Blue Heaven (Marine)

Beneath a sky of cattle-hooves, voluminous and nimble, broken flowers swell from reams of well-gummed leaves.
Across crushing heavenly thighs, the petticoats of blue-rosined girls unfurl.
And then, sugared atolls erupt, half-melted, upon the profound unwritten journals, soothing…