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.