Clown | A poem by Henri Michaux, 1939

Clown | A poem by Henri Michaux, 1939
Claude Cahun, Henri Michaux, 1925

One day,
One day, maybe soon.
One day I’ll uproot the anchor that keeps my ship far from the seas.
With the sort of courage that’s needed to be nothing and nothing but nothing, I’ll let loose what seemed indissolubly close to me.
I’ll carve it up, I’ll knock it down, I’ll smash it, I’ll give it a shove.
All at once disgorging my miserable modesty, my miserable schemes and “needle and thread” chains.
Drained of the abscess of being someone, I’ll drink nourishing space again.
Striking with absurdity, with degradation (what is degradation?), by explosion, by void, by a total dissipation- derision-purgation, I’ll oust
from myself the form they believed was so well connected, compounded, coordinated, suited to my entourage and to my counterparts,
so respectable, my so respectable counterparts.
Reduced to a catastrophe’s humility, to a perfect levelling as after a big scare.
Dragged down beyond measure from my actual rank, to a low rank that I don’t know what idea-ambition made me abandon.
Annihilated in pride, in reputation.
Lost in a far off place (or not), without name, without identity.

CLOWN, demolishing amidst laughter, amidst grotesqueness, amidst guffaws, the opinion which against all evidence I’d formed of my
I’ll dive.
Without a cent into the underlying infinite-spirit open to everything,
open myself to a new and unbelievable dew
by force of being null
and blank…
and laughable…

Clown, Henri Michaux, Peintures, 1939
tr. John Hayes

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