René Char

by Φ

from The Brittle Age


In fidelity we never learn to be consoled.

Without support of the shore, don’t confide in the sea but in the wind.

No man, unless he be dead in living, can feel at anchor in his life.

He had, up to the last, a genius for escaping, but he escaped, suffering.

Lick one’s wound. Only the musician is admitted to the dance of the demons.

“I revolt, therefor I ramify.” This is how men should speak to the stake that raises their rebellion.

When the sun commands, move the least.

Kindly clothe me in tender snow, O heaven that compels me to drink your tears.

Sorrow is the last fruit, itself immortal, of youth.


from Returning Upland


Stone after stone, I endure
My house’s demoltion
Only death-devoted, one evening.,
Knew the exact dimension.

Winter was thriving in Provence
Under the gray gaze of the Vaudois
The pyre melted the snow,
The water slid scalding in the torrent.

With a star of affliction
Blood is too slow in drying.
Range of my mournings, you rule:
I have never dreamt about you.


We are not jealous of the gods, we neither serve them nor fear them, but in peril of our lives we attest to their multiple existences, & are moved at belonging to their adventurous breed that no longer remembers them

The wine of liberty quickly turns if, half-drunken, it isn’t tossed back to the vine-stock.



This man wasn’t generous because he wished to see himself so in his mirror. He was generous because he came from the Pleiades & hated himself.
The same profusive shadow with phalanges of uplifted fingers joined us together. A sun, meant for neither of us, vanished just like a guilty or ungratified father.



Retreat to the sources: beyond the spiky bushes, is a channel of fresh air, the thirsting are stopped by a blaming-gate. Waters of vernal benefaction, tracings of a provident face, each roam distantly upon the unfeasible delta.

Reverse of the sources: the regions upland, land without assets, ravished host, towards you I’m casting my lot. In my carelessness, it irrigated — a level task — the garden of your enemies. The fault is lifted.


Cheek to chook, to beggars in stiffened distress,
Untrained by the wind & frost, & unheeded;
Children of an aforetime
Fallen from extended seasons, that stand there,
Huddled, Without lips to transpose them the hours turn.
There won’t be an abduction or avenging, and
No one that passes notices them, notices us.
Two roses, drilled with a deep-set ring,
Add to their oddity a touch of defiance.
Can anything, aside from the thorns, bring an end to life?
As the long days always new: the flower!
And the sun is no longer initiate.
One night, the lowered day, the entire risk, two roses,
Like the flame within its shelter, cheek to cheek with what kills it.


The bread of the stars seems to me, in the sky of men, dark & hardened; but in their narrow hands, I read the houst of the stars, inviting others: the still musing emigrants of the deck. I garnered their golden sweat &, through me, the earth no longer died.