POEMS FROM FRANCE: “The blank sheet” by Paul Valéry “La Feuille Blanche” (about “writing”, from an older post)



The Blank Sheet


In truth, a blank sheet

Declares by the void

That there is nothing as beautiful

As that which does not exist.

On the magic mirror of its white space,

The soul sees before her the place of the miracles

That we would bring to life with signs and lines.

This presence of absence over-excites

And at the same time paralyses the definitive act of the pen.

There is in all beauty a forbiddance to touch,

From which emanates I don’t know what of sacred

That stops the movement and puts the man

On the point of acting in fear of himself.

by Paul Valéry

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Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry (30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945) was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. In addition to his poetry and fiction (drama and dialogues), his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events. Valéry was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 12 different years.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Val%C3%A9ry


“La Feuille Blanche” de Paul Valéry

En vérité, une feuille blanche

Nous déclare par le vide

Qu’il n’est rien de si beau

Que ce qui n’existe pas.

Sur le miroir magique de sa blanche étendue,

L’âme voit devant elle le lieu des miracles

Que l’on ferait naître avec des signes et des lignes.

Cette présence d’absence surexcite

Et paralyse à la fois l’acte


Paul Valéry

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