My turn. The history of one of my follies.
For a long time I boasted of possessing all possible landscapes, and I found the prestige accorded to modern painting and poetry ridiculous.
I loved absurd pictures, fanlights, stage scenery, backcloths for mummer's plays, inn-signs, cheap coloured prints; I loved unfashionable literature, church Latin, ill-spelt pornography, novels for old ladies, fairy stories, little books for children, old operas, empty refrains, simple rhythms.
I dreamed of crusades, of voyages of discovery never recorded, of republics without histories, suppressed religious wars, revolutions in manners, movements of races and of continents; I believed in all enchantments.
I invented the colours of the vowels! - A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green - I made the rules for the form and movement of each consonant, and, with instinctive rhythms, I flattered myself that I had created a poetic language which would one day be accessible to all senses. I reserved translation rights.
At first this was an academic study. I wrote of silences and nights, I expressed the inexpressible. I defined vertigoes.
Far away from the birds and herds and village girls, what was I drinking, on my knees in that heather surrounded by soft hazel copses in a warm green afternoon mist?
What could I be drinking in that young Oise - voiceless elms, flowerless turf, overcast sky!- drinking from those yellow gourds, far from my beloved cabin? Some golden liquor which causes sweating.
I made a cross-eyed inn-sign - A storm came and chased the sky away. In the evening the water in the woods trickled away into virgin sands, the wind of God threw sheets of ice across the ponds;
Weeping, I saw gold - and could not drink...
I accustomed myself to pure hallucination: I saw very clearly a mosque instead of a factory, a drummer's school consisting of angels, coaches on the roads of the sky, a drawing-room at the bottom of a lake; monsters, mysteries; a music-hall poster could conjure up terrors in front of me...
I ended up by regarding my mental disorder as sacred. I was idle, the prey of a heavy fever; I envied the happiness of beasts- caterpillars, who represent the innocence of limbo, and moles, the sleep of virginity..
..If I have any taste, it is for hardly anything but earth and stones. I breakfast always on air, on rock, on coal, iron.
Turn, my hungers. Feed, hungers, on the meadow of sounds. Suck the gaudy poison from the convolvuli.
Eat the broken stone; the old masonry of churches; boulders from old floods, loaves sown in the grey valleys.
The fox howled under the leaves, spitting out the bright feathers of his feast of fowl; like him, I consume myself.
Salads and fruits are only waiting to be picked; but the hedge spider eats nothing but violets.
Let me sleep! let me simmer on Solomon's altars. The scum runs down over the rust, and mingles with the Kedron.
At last, O happiness, O reason, I removed from the sky the azure, which is a blackness, and I lived, a spark of gold of the natural light. Out of joy, I took on the most clownish and exaggerated mode of expression possible:
It has been found again! What? eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.
My immortal soul, keep your vow despite the lonely night and the day on fire.
Thus you detach yourself from human approval, from common impulses! You fly off as you may...
No hope, never; and no orietur. Knowledge and fortitude, torture is certain.
No more tomorrow, satiny embers, your own heat is the only duty.
It has been found again! What? - Eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.