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Août 15

The Viewer

The Viewer

Translated from French

by

Nounours Lelion

I

Finally! There’s the Viewer I was waiting for :
An insipid man,
A character trapped in beauty,
Caged in his admiration for the world.
He’s a man with an infinite range of emotions,
He’s timeless in the surprise,
Intoxicates the idolizers under the moon,
And sometimes stands up by jealousy against the things that do not hit [his heart.

At last! The Viewer I expected!
Let him enjoy himself in front of monuments,
Allow him to observe your old papers which dictate the minds,
Offer him books for the night and books for the day,
He will read carefully what the mouth can see and what the eyes can speak of.

My dear brethren, do not be scared! He is the Viewer I chose: loyal and careful [towards you.
Striking as the opium and honest like a stroke,
Never speaks but hears,
Never eats but absorbs,
Never thinks but judges,
Never kills, he wants the life.

Give him a place among your hard and dark thoughts,
He is a gift standing as high as the sky, he is my endowment to the world.
Give him the name you want, with any sound for every tongue.

For every wonderful thing in this world, Mankind needs his Viewer.

II

You see all these lives going from one side to another, one line to another,
And your head is already high, looking for the future!
But what for, dear Viewer?
Is there a bitter thought making you so dark?
What wind is makes your heart drown at every new season’s start?
Could it be love, torn from here to there? [from a rough river in spate?
Could it be a family that did not achieve protection of a fellow lad
Have you witnessed the strongest friendship vanish under a spring [night?

As a little boy back then, you looked at things as they were and you wanted [them to stay with you,
Growing up was the way to polish your attachment
[towards nature,
You will need to remember, in summer and winter, through night and day,
Then you will find what no other man can live twice.

As the Viewer you are, we understand your disappointment,
full of brutal anger against the destruction
of things that give birth to another.
Remember then what Prévert used to say to his heart
when change went over his power,
and out of his reach.
The same you shall do with your soul.

“O dear account, don’t we see happiness in the noise it makes when it shuts [the door?”

How do we overpass change?
It only requires a man to think about the tree which fell in the forest,
just as it only takes you, dear Viewer, to think about all these poor souls
perishing day and night in the abyss of transformation.

III

What else is a Viewer but a tree standing on its leafs?
It is a genius creator who lives inside his masterpiece,
All around him stands in grace and harmony,
The wonderful and the best,
The blameless and the perfect.

High perched above him, in the abyss of thinking,
The sunset holding its breath in front of a breathtaking world.

When the great Admirer shows up, the sun is ashamed.
The bright star envies the Viewer,
It stands so high but looks so down,
It holds the whole world in the palm of its eyes,
But still, stays avid of recognition.

The Viewer is praised, victim of allegories, rocked by the sacrificed ones.
The sun is watched, victim of selfishness, devoid of any flattering shadow.

“What does he have more than me, this so loved Viewer?”
Asks the sun lost in darkness.

When two men share the same view,
It is what they create in their eyes that determines who they are.

———
The original poem, “Le contemplateur”, received the first prize in poetry of the literary contest Marianopolis – Brébeuf on March 20th, 2014.

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