This is a meditation on pathological incommunicability, a failing to which the poet is subjected. He describes it as a double who inhabits him, preventing him from expressing his emotions: the wrestler. He requites with brutality any attempt at breaking t

The wrestler

Your love never would have assuaged this hatred
Which cast on me a spell that I could never tame.
Its cry in me soars like, from the torture chamber,
The song that convicts sing to alleviate their pain.
Never could your love be master of this hatred-
Nor of the stiffened mask on his face, the lover.

The lover did not break his dungeon of silence.
Or else your flight would have burnt its wings on that stove.
Pride protects this firm rock better than would a lance.
The forbidden standard streams in the wind of love,
But my scorn on me shuts a dungeon of silence
Once unleashed, your love would, remain without response.

As a response to love hatred is the language.
All I loved as yet is to me grief and folly
So that now, to untie the bewitchment of age
I have no tool, nor to break my captivity.
Of my poisons I make a more subtle usage
Than if I would indulge your foolish entreaty.

Your entreaty, allowed, would have been a torture.
Your soul would have gone there where thrive poisonous weeds
And regretted for long that its vow could mature.
Thus, the hateful Medea drenched in poison the Fleece
And the vessel carried for a longer torture
Him who thought that Fate could comply with his motives.

The motives were to you strange and unwise matters
For this endless struggle in which we're persisting:
A guest in me abides, shapeless, without features
Whose death would be my death and yet we are so keen
On hitting restlessly this strange brother of ours,
To make of his clamours a shape, we are groping.

Groping, we fathom out the fathomless strange face
And each cry issued forth makes us quake and shudder.
A wrestler arises from the depths of past age.
His breath I often heard, listened to his murmur,
But never does the sun illuminate the face
Of the guest, nor the fierce hatred both of us bear.

(Like a vessel whose flank a mine suddenly hits,
I sail to a harbour which is out of my reach,
And I feel how my holds with every night loose weight,
And how the fuel runs out for piston and for breech
And how death lies in wait and my soul inhabits
To blow out my sense and put an end to my search -

Or like a castle struck by a hail of bullets,
I see the rebels climb with torches up the tower
And I can't conceal from the assailing kinglet
The well that's running dry, the outgoing hearth-fire,
For though my walls are tall and defy the bullets,
A traitor will this fiend soon help to seize the power)

Both of us to one shape mingle with each other.
This panting struggle keeps our two minds so intent
That we perceive neither dawn nor morning warbler.
And I founded a realm that's called my detriment.
No one shall enter there who does not resemble
The one whom to destroy is my sole commitment.

My sole commitment is to serve well my hatred.
If your loveliness would some day visit my hell,
You'd be the nude martyr who is chained to the stake,
Whom the glowing brands claw, whom the iron tongs peel,
For you would then have reached the forge of my hatred-
And yet no other guest could be to me so dear.

So dear -for you could cause to fade away the face
Of the unknown guest who holds me and follows me.
And when I cast away the rags my spirit wears
His tatters will at last rise from the night, maybe;
My tenderness will then perceive the other face
Of the stubborn wrestler who haunted me nightly.

Poetry by Michel Galiana
Read 1235 times
Written on 2009-06-02 at 22:15

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