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“The Mystical Ship” by Antonin Artaud

The Mystical Ship

It has been lost, that archaic ship
On seas that drench my fevered dreams,
Its tall masts hidden in the mist
Of a biblical and psalm-filled sky.

It will not be pastoral Greeks
Who gently play among bare trees;
And the holy ship will never sell
Its rare cargo in foreign lands.

It knows no warm ports of the earth,
Eternally alone, it knows only God,
As it plows through glorious, infinite waves.

The pointed bow plunges into mystery;
At night, the tips of its masts gleam
With the mystic silver of the polar star.

.

Le Navire Mystique

Il se sera perdu le navire archaïque
Aux mers où baigneront mes rêves éperdus ;
Et ses immenses mâts se seront confondus
Dans les brouillards d’un ciel de bible et de cantiques.

Un air jouera, mais non d’antique bucolique,
Mystérieusement parmi les arbres nus ;
Et le navire saint n’aura jamais vendu
La très rare denrée aux pays exotiques.

Il ne sait pas les feux des havres de la terre.
Il ne connaît que Dieu, et sans fin, solitaire
Il sépare les flots glorieux de l’infini.

Le bout de son beaupré plonge dans le mystère.
Aux pointes de ses mâts tremble toutes les nuits
L’argent mystique et pur de l’étoile polaire.

.

.

Antonin Artaud, 1896–1948

“Le Navire Mystique” is in the public domain
English translation by R.J. Dent

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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