Sunday, May 6, 2012

only a fault that crosses stone

And others, still others. They tell me
They are the ones who know:
God, they say, tears up all the pages he writes,
And that is the world. Like a flame,
His hatred of the work and of himself,
Of even beauty in the firmament of words,
Blackens the tree of human speech,
This hope.

God is an artist
Who cares only for the inaccessible,
He rants with an artist’s fits of rage.
He fears he’s made an image, nothing more.
He shouts his impatience in thunder.
He insults what he loves:
He’s never learned to hold a face
In his trembling hands.

And what we owe God, they add,
Is to help him destroy: we too must renounce
All desire and all love.
We must turn away in silence.
We must smother light with ash,
So earth will be no more
Than jumbled rocks in a ravine.
So God will be no more than blind,
Unknowing grass, under blindly falling rain.
So our hearts will make
The word, in muddy pools
Of incomprehensible time, no more
Than this matter that dreamed God.

Being: less than stone, they contend--
Only a fault
That crosses stone. A weathering
Of ridges in the rift; a color that waits for nothing,
That means nothing in the light.

Yves Bomnefoy


  1. I felt like a voyeur when I saw the fourth photo... ;-)

    1. Lucia: i don't know if photography encourages voyeurism, or if voyeurs are naturally attracted to taking pictures, but the two certainly seem to go together ... i think there might be ethical questions here -- but i've convinced myself to ignore those :-)

  2. I love the whole poem and had me crying when I got to the end and read "that means nothing in the light"

    Nice photos :-)

    About time you posted some of your pictures from Europe.

    1. Liz: what does it all mean? somedays i would answer, nothing ... of course, on other days my answer would be different -- otherwise, why not sit on a rock somewhere until you starve and fall over??

  3. outstanding piece of art !

  4. First response: ouch.

    But I'd like to take each line in my trembling hands and turn it, to understand it and accept it, as so. Or not.

    The whole post feels dark, and powerful, with a bit of almost-nothing light.

    And beautiful.

  5. Ruth: it all seems painful, but true ... sometimes ... or it seems a painful doubt, but not really true ... sometimes ... or ... or ....

  6. Monmartre!!!
    oh a world full of life and mystery faces me in these photos, vague stirrings, danger, longings... i want to take everything in me, i want it to fill my chest, until i can't breathe...

    (i think i like Bonnefoy more in his essays, though, this poem feels too much like the translation of an idea, a philosophical debate, its contours are too heavy, it sounds like a lecture at times: God is an artist
    Who cares only for the inaccessible,
    He rants with an artist’s fits of rage.

    you photos have a subtlety and an openness toward mystery that the poem lacks :-)

  7. Roxana: monmartre, of course :-) ... the district right next door to brocéliande, where all things are possible and i am most myself by getting lost and meeting you there :-)

    i understand what you write about bonnefoy ... the essays are certainly great (they are a kind of poetry in their own right), and his poems are poems of ideas, sometimes too close to exposition, just as you say ... mais quand même, there is something that always draws me back, it is a poetry of ideas, a sensuality of thought in contact with the material of the world ...

  8. The comparison of God to the bigger-than-life artist who tears pages, who hates his work--I have not seen this. But, then, there is so much I have not seen. I learn from the comments as well as your images combined with words. My spirituality is so simple. It is childlike and I do not know whether this is good or bad, or simply is. I have gone through many stages and I really enjoyed fancying myself an existentialist over forty years ago, when I was a teenager. Strange to return to a child.

    Artistically? The images and the words move me inside a cavern-like part of my mind. Not comfortable, but I don't necessarily seek comfort all the time.

    I DO--perhaps not unlike Roxan, though I m not sure--find that the images open me up, while the words somewhat shut me down. Without your images, I'd simply respond more like Ruth's first response. OUCH. I am making no sense, so I shall stop.