WEARY OF BITTER EASE . . .
by Stephane Mallarme
Weary of bitter ease in which my indolence
Offends a glory for which I fled the charm long since
Of childhood rose-embowered under natural arch
Of blue, and wearier sevenfold of this my harsh
Compact to dig each night a furrow once again
Into the cold and stingy soil of my brain,
Gravedigger with no pity for sterility,
-What can I tell this dawn, by roses companied,
O Dreams, when out of terror for its ashen rose
The vast graveyard will merge these empty holes?
I would forsake the ravenous Art of cruel lands
And with a smile for all the age-old reprimands
Delivered by my friends and genius and the past
And by my lamp which knows my agony at last,
Would imitate the Chinese of limpid, delicate bent,
Whose purest ecstasy is but to paint the end
Upon his cups of snow new ravished from the moon
Of some exotic flower that constantly perfumed
His life, transparent flowers he smelled in infancy,
Grafting itself upon the soul's blue filigree.
And like to death within the sage's only dream,
Serene, I'll choose a landscape young and evergreen
Which I also will paint on cups, preoccupied.
A line of azure, thin and pale, will signify
A lake, amid a sky of naked porcelain;
A shining crescent lost behind a white cloudscape
Will dip its tranquil horn in the water's glassy sheet
Not far from three long emerald eyelashes-- reeds.