"The Youngest of the Fates" by Paul Valery (October 30 1871--July 20 1945)
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Who, if not the single wind, is sighing
Alone here with distant diamonds dying?
Whose sob so near myself is taking place?
This hand whose touch is dreaming of my face,
Absently answering some deep call,
Awaits the tear my frailty will let fall
When the clearest of my destinies, apart
In silence brings to light a broken heart.
The mounting wave murmurs, obscurely mocks
At me and withdraws into its gullet of rocks
Plaintively, in rumors of restraint,
Like something bitter swallowed with complaint . . .
Whose cold hand? What bristles beyond the reef?
And what is this flutter of a faded leaf
Sustained among you, isles of my naked breast?
I glisten, toward this unknown heaven pressed . . .
Great clusters of glitter to my thirst for dangers.
All powerful, inescapable astral strangers,
Deigning to let shine far off in time
Something supernaturally sublime;
You that plunge in mortals to the depth of tears
These sovereign beams, these invincible spears,
Impulses from your eternity,
I am alone with you, tremblingly
Risen from my couch; and on this reef
Worn with wonder, ask my heart what grief
Wakes it? Have I done, or suffered, wrong?
. . . Or did I keep a dream locked in too long
When (lamp's gold to velvet breath had fled)
I folded heavy arms about my head
And lay awaiting lightning from my soul?
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Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry (French: [pɔl valeʁi]; 30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945) was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. His interests were sufficiently broad that he can be classified as a polymath. In addition to his poetry and fiction (drama and dialogues), his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events.
The great silence
Valéry is best known as a poet, and he is sometimes considered to be the last of the French symbolists. However, he published fewer than a hundred poems, and none of them drew much attention. On the night of 4 October 1892, during a heavy storm, Paul Valéry underwent an existential crisis, an event that made a huge impact on his writing career. Eventually, around 1898, he quit writing altogether, and, for nearly twenty years, Valery did not publish a single word. This hiatus was due, in part, to the death of his mentor, Stéphane Mallarmé. When, in 1917, he finally broke his 'great silence' with the publication of La Jeune Parque; he was forty-six years of age.
 La Jeune Parque
This obscure, but sublimely musical, masterpiece, of 512 alexandrine lines in rhyming couplets, had taken him four years to complete, and it immediately secured his fame. With "Le Cimetière marin" and "L'Ebauche d'un serpent," it is often considered one of the greatest French poems of the twentieth century.
The title was chosen late in the poem's gestation; it refers to the youngest of the three Parcae (the minor Roman deities also called The Fates), though for some readers the connection with that mythological figure is tenuous and problematic.
The poem is written in the first person, and is the soliloquy of a young woman contemplating life and death, engagement and withdrawal, love and estrangement, in a setting dominated by the sea, the sky, stars, rocky cliffs, and the rising sun. However, it is also possible to read the poem as an allegory on the way fate moves human affairs or as an attempt to comprehend the horrific violence in Europe at the time of the poem's composition. The poem is not about World War I, but it does try to address the relationships between destruction and beauty, and, in this sense, it resonates with ancient Greek meditations on these matters, especially in the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus. There are, therefore, evident links with le Cimetière marin, which is also a seaside meditation on comparably large themes.
 Other works
Before la Jeune Parque, Valéry's only publications of note were dialogues, articles, some poems, and a study of Leonardo da Vinci. In 1920 and 1922, he published two slim collections of verses. The first, Album des vers anciens (Album of ancient verses), was a revision of early but beautifully wrought smaller poems, some of which had been published individually before 1900. The second, Charmes (from the Latin carmina, meaning "songs" and also "incantations"), further confirmed his reputation as a major French poet. The collection includes le Cimetière marin, and many smaller poems with diverse structures. 'Le Cimetière marin' is mentioned or indirectly implied or referred to in at least four of Iris Murdoch's novels, The Unicorn, The Time of the Angels, The Nice and the Good and The Sea, The Sea.
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I had been perusing Poetry and noticed this piece by this talented Poet & Philosopher, as well as other works of Art. ..Felt like sharing it, and I hope you enjoy it.