Saturday, January 2, 2016


Inscription for the Tomb of the Painter
Henri Rousseau Customs Inspector

Dear Rousseau you hear us


From Delaunay his wife Mister Queval and me

Let our luggage go duty-free through heaven's gate

We'll bring you brushes colors and canvas

So your holy leisure in the real light

You can devote it to painting

The way you did my portrait

The face of the stars


There are some terrific little bridges

There is my heart that beats for you

There is a sad woman on the road

There is a nice little cottage in a garden

There are six soldiers having an insanely good time

There are my eyes that search for your image

There is a charming stand of trees on the hill

And an old National Guardsman pissing as we go by

There is a poet who dreams of lil Lou

There is an exquisite lil Lou in that big Paris

There is some artillery in a forest

There is a shepherd grazing his sheep

There is my life that belongs to you

There is my fountain pen that flows and flows

There is a curtain of delicate delicate poplars

There is my past which is really past

There are narrow streets in Menton where we loved each other

There is a little girl from Sospel who whips her friends

There is my horsewhip in my oat bag

There are Belgian rail cars on the move

There is my love

There is all of life

I adore you


Guillaume Apollinaire
translated by Ron Padgett
New York Review of Books
Z O N E, Selected Poems

Listen to the soldier read: