sylvia ann manning | déja: there's no last judgment

Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet

Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet

Déjá: There’s no last judgment

by Louis Aragon

My love at the end of the world
That at least my voice answers you

Dreams dulled romances murdered
Everything some ancient Roman ruin
In this appalling act of man
Where we kill at the street corner
Camps fooled by fake conquest
Where the heart suffered paralysis
Where are you Light oh where

Déjá no summer nor winter
Neither the blue sky nor green woods

Promised future betrayed
Everything the color of ashes
And singers ignore my passionate
Long sigh, oh, my people, say
Such abandoned fear and bitterly
Beauty masks misery
In these false days of Pompeii

Already the eyelids turn blue
Déjá it’s a city of stones

The houses still stand
Immense cemetery shaking
Those still entwined, love making
Night with no daylight planned
And our children not dead yet
Though this is just a decorated set
An ink drinks mud wet land

Déjá déjá no eyes to see
Already night no longer night

Paris opens its palm bare
Its fingers from Rueil to Vincennes
Imagine the quays the Seine
Imagine the thoroughfare
And this sleep made by wing-sudden movement
At every star a heart gets broken
At slabs no one knows who’s there

Already nothing will spew blood
Déjá it’s an emptiness reigns

Imagine the Tuileries
Us not ourselves in that fogginess
That terrible blindman’s bluffing guess
I’ve seen the photography
What the atomic wind left in place
How a human being could be erased
Without a cry, like chalk, more easily

Déjá everything is feigned
Already our speech loses strength

It’s Peter Schlemiel inside out
Here the shadow lost the body
And in a sky nobody studies
To be able to write the alphabet
On the blackboard of disaster
The white equation of all that’s stellar
Stays uselessly laid out

Déjá death without funerals
Already night without shadows

From all the eyes that we close
The iron the fire the hunger the oven
Drums covering the guns
Agony displayed on posts
The hospital and the quartering
Lack our understanding
Nothing depicts Hiroshima
Already all the rumbling’s lost
Already nothing more despairs

A murderer’s magic
Takes us to some prehistory
Of corpses lacking abattoir
No fingers to write statistics
Whose eyes would read the pale schists
Where death made huge chelates
for our paleontologistics

Déjá no master of domain
Déjá the seasons inhumane

To whom would we proudly recite
Reasons for why the universe ended
The miner along with the mine exploded
No witnesses nor judges in sight
No trumpets announcing who receives
Any inheritance bequeathed
Contrary to what was prophesied

Already the words make no sense
Déjá forgot Déjá absent

Mankind was frustrated by regimen
Heavy virtue exclusion for any wrong
Each going back to where he belonged
To left or right by precise system
The good and the mean arranged just so
Like a painting by Michelangelo
There is no judgment

Déjá neither moment nor hour
Déjá neither pains nor colors

Some sunlight of confusion
Turns at the wishes of no one
No part of the clock entones
O vision without vision
No more shadow of mankind that permits
The golden crossway of the comet
The calculus and the illusion

Déjá this physical abyss
Déjá a sea without music

If these chants go up in smoke
So that nothing is heard that I say
The steps are fading on the pathway
My rhymes I’ll yet bring forth
Through some sort of insanity
Responding to you romantically
My only echo my belovéd

Il N’y Aura Pas de Judgement Dernier

from Les Yeux et la Mémoire by Louis Aragon, published by Gaillimard, Paris, 1954


by Sylvia A. Manning, June 26, 2006, Mullein Hill cabin, Glover, Vermont

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