Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ZONE, by GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE



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First Line: After all you are weary of this oldtime world
Last Line: Sun cut throat
Alternate Author Name(s): Kostrowitzky, Wilhelm Apollina
Subject(s): Paris, France; World War I; First World War


After all you are weary of this oldtime world

Shepherdess O Eiffel Tower your flock of bridges is bleating this morning

You have had enough of this living in a Greek and Roman antiquity

Here even the automobiles contrive an ancient aspect
Only religion is still new only religion
Has stayed simple like the Airport hangars

In all Europe you alone are not antique O Christianity
The most up-to-date European is you Pope Pius X
And you whom the windows stare at shame keeps you back
From going into some church and confessing your sins this morning
You read the prospectuses the catalogues the public notices that sing out
Here's the morning's poetry and for prose we have newspapers
We've two-bit volumes full of crime adventure
Portraits of the great and a thousand miscellaneous items

This morning I saw a neat street I've forgotten its name
All new and clean a bugle in the sun
Bosses workmen and pretty stenographers
From Monday morning to Saturday night pass along it four times a day
Three times each morning the siren moans there
A furious whistle bays along about noon
The slogans the signboards the walls
The plaques the parroty notices nagging
I like the charm of this industrial street
Located in Paris between the Rue Aumont-Thieville and the Avenue des Ternes
Here's your young street and you're only a little child still
Your mother dresses you only in white and blue
You're a religious boy and along with your oldest pal Rene Dalize
You like nothing better than Church ceremonies
It's nine o'clock the gas is all bluey turned down you sneak out of the dorm
You pray all night long in the school chapel
While the eternal adorable depth of amethyst
Revolves forever the flamboyant glory of Christ
This is the fair lily that all of us tend
The torch with red hair unquenched by the wind
The pale flushed son of the mother grieving
The tree leafy-thick all over with prayers
The double potency of honor and forever
The six-branched star
God who dies Friday and rises on Sunday
Christ who climbs the sky better than any aviator
He holds the world record for altitude
Pupil Christ of the eye
Twentieth pupil of the centuries he knows his job
And changes into a bird this century goes up into the air like Jesus
The devils in their abysses lift up their heads to watch
They call it an imitation of Simon Magus in Judaea
They exclaim if this is flying let's call him fly-by-night
The angels flash around the pretty tightroper
Icarus Enoch Elijah Apollonius of Tyana
Bob about this first airplane
From time to time they step aside for persons transported by the Sacrament
Those priests ascending eternally at the Elevation of the Host
The plane lands at last with wings outspread
Then the skies are jammed with swallows by the millions
On swooping wings the ravens come the falcons the owls
Ibises from Africa and flamingos and marabouts
The Roc bird celebrated by storytellers and poets
Glides with the skull of Adam the first head in its claws
The eagle plummets from the horizon with a great cry
And from America comes the small colibri
From China the supple long pihis
Who have only one wing and who fly in pairs
And here is the dove immaculate spirit
Escorted by the lyre-bird and the eyey peacock
The phoenix that self-engendering stake
Hides everything for a moment with his burning ashes
The sirens abandon their perilous straits
Arrive all three of them singing at the top of their voices
Eagle phoenix Chinese pihis all combine
To fraternize with the flying machine

You are walking in Paris now all alone in a crowd
Herds of mooing busses pass by as you go
Love's anguish grabs you by the gullet
As if you'd never be loved again
If you lived in the old days you'd enter a monastery
You're ashamed of yourself when you catch yourself praying
You sneer at yourself friend your laugh snaps like hell-fire
The sparks of that laugh gild your life's cash reserves
It's a picture hung up in a dusky museum
And every once in a while you get up close to examine it

Today you're taking a walk in Paris the women are bloodied
This was and I did not want to remember it this was in the ebb of beauty

Immured in her ancient flames Notre-Dame has seen me at Chartres
The blood of your Sacre-Coeur has engulfed me at Montmartre
I am sick of listening to blessed discourse
The love that I suffer is a shameful disease
And the image that owns you keeps you alive in sleeplessness and in agony
It is always near you that transient image

Now you are by the Mediterranean
Under the lemon trees flowering all year long
You go for a sail with some friends of yours
One's from Nice one's from Menton there are two from Turbes
We are alarmed by the sight of the cuttlefish far down
And through the seaweed fish swim in the Savior's image

You are in a tavern garden somewhere outside Prague
You are so happy there's a rose on the table
And instead of composing your prose fable
You note the worm asleep in the heart of the rose

In terror you see yourself limned in the agates of Saint Vit
You were deathly sorry the day you saw yourself there
You look like Lazarus struck silly by the daylight
The hands on the ghetto clock move backwards
You too reverse slowly into your life
And going up to Hradchin hearing at nightfall
The tavern songs of the singing Czechs
You're back at Marseille along the watermelons
Back in Coblenz at the Hotel du Geant
You're in Rome sitting under a Japanese medlar

You're in Amsterdam with a girl you think's pretty but she's a fright
She's going to marry a Leyden undergraduate
They rent rooms in Latin there Cubicula locanda
I remember it well I spent three days there and also at Gouda

You're in Paris before the examining magistrate
Like a common criminal you are placed in custody
You have made your happy and dolorous journeys
Before taking account of falsehood and age
At twenty and thirty you have suffered from love
I have lived like a madman and I've lost my time
You no longer dare look at your hands and all the time I could burst out sobbing
Because of you because of her I love because of everything that has frightened
you

Eyes full of tears you watch these poor emigrants
They trust in God they pray the women suckle their babies
Their odor fills the concourse of the Saint-Lazare Station
They believe in their star like the Three Wise Men
They look forward to getting rich in the Argentine
And coming back home after their fortune's made
One family transports its red eiderdown just as you transport your heart
That quilt and our dreams are equally unreal
Certain of these emigrants stay here and take lodgings
In the Rue des Rosiers or the Rue des Ecouffes in flopperies
I've often seen them taking the air evenings in the street
They are like chessmen they seldom leave their squares
There are Jews above all their women wear wigs
Drained of blood they sit far back in their shops

You stand before the counter in a rotgut bar
With a five-cent coffee among the down-and-out

You are night in a fine restaurant

These women are not evil they have their troubles nevertheless
All of them have made some lover unhappy even the ugliest
She's the daughter of a Jersey policeman

Her hands I had not seen them are hard and chapped
I've an enormous pity for the stitched scars on her belly

To a poor girl with a horrible laugh I humble my mouth now

You are alone morning is coming
The milkmen are clanking their tin cans in the streets

Night takes flight like a fair Medive
It's a faithless Ferdine or a faithful Leah

You drink an alcohol that burns like your life
Your life that you drink down like brandy

You walk towards Auteuil and you would go home on foot
To sleep among your fetishes from Oceania and Guinea
They are Christs in another form Christs of another faith
They are the lesser Christs of obscure yearnings

Good-bye Good-bye

Sun cut throat





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