CHRONICLE

Chronicle
by
St-John Perse

Great age, behold us. Coolness of evening on the heights, breath of the open sea on every threshold, and our foreheads bared for wider spaces…

An evening of crimson and long fever where lances incline and lengthen, we have seen the sky to Westward redder and deeper rose, the rose of sea-larvae from the salt marshes: evening of vast Saharan space, and ever-widening sky, where the first lapses of the light seemed to us like failures of language.

And there is a rending of entrails, of viscera, over the whole lighted space of the Century: linens laved in primaeval waters and the finger of man probing, in the sky’s deepest violet and green, those bleeding raptures of dream–live wounds!

One lingering pale cloud across the austral sky, in living torsion, yonder, bends a white shark-belly with gauzy fins. And the red stallion of evening neighs in the red clays. And our dream is on the heights. Ascension timed by the rising of stars, born of the sea… And it is not of that sea that we dream this evening.

High though the site may be, another sea rises far away and is level with us, at the height of man’s forehead: a very high mass and uprising of the ages at the horizon of earth, like a rampart of stone on the brow of Asia, and a very high threshold aflame at the horizon of men everlasting, living and dead in one crowd.

Raise your head, man of evening. The great rose of the years turns round your serene brow. The great tree of the sky , like a nopal, robes itself in the West with scarlet flies, cochineal. And the fiery glow of an evening fragrant with dry seaweed, we lead toward higher pasturings great islands in mid-sky, robust with bushes of arbutus and juniper.

Fever on the heights and bed of glowing embers. Statute of brides for a night to all summits washed in gold!

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