the death of guillaume apollinaire


we know nothing
we knew nothing of grief

the bitter season of cold

digs long furrows in our muscles

he would have preferred the joy of victory

wise under calm sorrows    caged
unable to do anything at all

if snow fell upward

if the sun rose to meet us during the night

to warm us

and trees hung with their crown upside down

—unique teardrop—

if birds were here with us to contemplate themselves

in the tranquil lake above our heads


death would be a beautiful long voyage

and an unlimited vacation from the flesh of structures and of bones.

Tristan Tzara

the impossible refuge

Experience and suffering
are the mother of wisdom.

Be happy in your own soul.
Among pitiless townsmen
one will always abuse you,
another speak praise.

When a man is dead
one can find no medicine
to bring him life.

summer afternoon

Seeing delightful things, hearing sweet sounds,
since a man becomes sad even though they please him:
Surely, he remembers in his heart something he is yet
unaware of,
– friendships in another life, whose emotion is constant.

See, shy one, the Sun
hanging in the West has made
With his long image in the water of the lake
a causeway as of gold.

The Moon, combing the darkness with his beams,
as if with his fingers the massy hair of night,
Seems to kiss her face
whose eyes – the lotuses – have closed into their buds…



We fear all things as mortals,
and we desire all things as if we were immortal.

We should not be offended that other people hide
the truth from us, since we so often hide it from ourselves.

We readily criticize other people’s faults,
but we rarely use them to correct our own.

We strive less hard to be happy than
to make people think we are happy.

If we are too much in love,
it is hard to recognize
when we are no longer loved.

La Rochefoucauld


How much there is in the world I do not want,
who knows the utility of futility?
awake, arise, or be forever fallen,

what soon grows old? gratitude…
all men by nature desire knowledge,
education is the best provision for old age.

does piety requires us to honor truth
above our friends?

well begun is half done,
creation is the same as destruction,
we flatter ourselves.

each mortal thing does one thing
and the same; you should go
to a pear tree for pears,
not to an elm.

may I hold you, as I sink,
with my failing hand?

dada self-portrait

in the midst of life we are in death
poets tell many lies,
the philosophers tend to give with one hand
and take away with the other.
All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind;
the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind,
the softest things in the world overcome
the hardest things in the world,
non-being penetrates that in which there is no space
through this I know the advantage of taking no action.
I am not at all interested in immortality, only in the taste of tea.
Don’t eat your heart.
Granting our wish one of Fate’s saddest jokes is.

What you do not want done to yourself,
do not do to others.
Nothing endures but change,
let things flow naturally forward
in whatever way they like.
Wisdom outweighs any wealth,
and one evil, ignorance…
you cannot teach a crab to walk straight.

in the midst of life we are in life
poets tell no lies,
the philosophers tend to give with one hand
and take away with the other,
nothing is easier than self-deceit
for what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true…

the horse

It is true that I believed in the immense privilege of living.
Each step amplified in me old but always mobile adorations.
It was a tree, the night, whole forests of roads,
or the sky and its troubled life, certainly the sun.
One day I saw solitude.
At the top of hill, a horse, alone, immobile, was planted in an arrested universe.
So my love, suspended in time, gathered to itself in one instant its petrified memory.
Life and death completed each other, all doors open to possible prolongations.
For once, without sharing in the meaning of things, I saw.
I isolated my vision, enlarging its borders infinitely.
I left for later the concern of seeing what one was to see.
But who could maintain that the promises had been kept?

Tristan Tzara

The Lion Tamer Remembers

look at me and be color
your laugh eats sun for hares
for chameleons
squeeze my body between two thick lines
let famine be light
sleep do you see we are heavy blue
antelope on a glacier ear
in the stones
lovely frontiers—hear the stone
old fisherman cold tall on
new letter learn the girls
in iron wire and sugar return
long time the bottles are tall
like white parasols listen
roll roll red

in the colonies
memory odor of a clean pharmacy
old servant
joyful horse and cereals
horn cry
baggage obscure menageries
bite saw do you want
horizontal to see

Tristan Tzara