Ma Vie

by HENRI MICHAUX (1899-1984)

Tu t’en vas sans moi, ma vie.
Tu roules.
Et moi j’attends encore de faire un pas.
Tu portes ailleurs la bataille.
Tu me désertes ainsi.
Je ne t’ai jamais suivie.
Je ne vois pas clair dans tes offres.
Le petit peu que je veux,
jamais tu ne l’apportes.
A cause de ce manque, j’aspire à tant.
A tant de choses, à presque l’infini…
A cause de ce peu qui manque,
que jamais tu n’apportes.

MY LIFE

You’re going someplace without me, my life.
You’re rolling away.
And I’m still waiting to make my move.
You’ve taken the battle somewhere
Abandoning me on the way.
I never followed, I stay.
Where you are leading me,
I can’t plainly see.
The very little that I want,
you never bring to me.
Because of this emptiness, I want
So many things, almost the infinite…
Because of this emptiness,
that you never fill.

(translated by Valerie Smith and James Bushnik)

Henri Michaux

In “Experimentation with Signs” (2007) by Nina Parish, it is noted that Henri Michaux was a highly respected visual artist, but he is better known for his poetic texts such as “the Chaplinesque adventures of his fictional character ‘Plume’, who cannot avoid coming up against social order and convention in the most absurd situations.” Nonetheless, Michaux did not consider himself a poet”
Read Pier Marton’s translation of “Un Homme Paisible” by Henri Michaux.

Henri Michaux Contemporaries
Alfred Noyes
Langston Hughes
Robert Hillyer
Ezra Pound

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