Paul Valery – La Dormeuse


Paul Valery

 

La Dormeuse or The Sleeper

appeared in Paul Valéry’s 1922 Charmes ou poèmes

 

What heart’s hot secrets is my young friend keeping

in soul that through the mask of flowers must breathe?

What vain food will natural warmth conceive

to make the radiance of woman sleeping?

 

The breath of dreams and silences is deepening

to peace more forcible than tears may leave

when heavy fullnesses of sleep receive

conspiracies that breast of foe is reaping.

 

A feared repose of shadows and surrenders

responds with golden gifts of sleep as hers.

 

A doe extended in its languorous clusters

where soul is lost and busy in infernos:

her form throws out a fluid arm, and musters

a wakefulness to tell me that it knows.

 

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