Grafton Amours

A la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien
– Guillaume Apollinaire, “Zone”

Et comme on passait sur un pont, le prince se mit à la portière pour contempler le panorama romantique du Rhin qui déployait ses splendeurs verdoyantes et se déroulait en larges méandres jusqu’à l’horizon. … A kind of muscular, living pressure – not rubbery, exactly, though it has that same attribute of stretching and contracting, systole and diastole – a portal which does not so much let you in, as allow you to distend yourself. … “And as they were standing below a bridge, he leaned over the grave-stone to observe the romantic panorama of the gully which … displayed? deployed? … its green splendours and wound away in large curves to the horizon.”

You pant and groan – rough, hoarse as an animal. Which is what you are, of course, though circumstances may sometimes obscure the fact for a moment or two. But scarcely here, now. Your ribs crack, crackle with the contrast between sweat and chill. Il était 4 heures du matin, des vaches paissaient dans les prés, des enfants dansaient déjà sous des tilleuls germaniques. Une musique de fifres, monotones et mortuaire, annonçaient la présence d’un régiment prussien et la mélopée se mêlait tristement au bruit de ferraille du pont et à l’accompagnement sourd du train en marche. … Is it four in the morning? Quite possibly. Are there cows in those fields? Not likely; but the children are certainly dancing beneath the disordered boughs of the trees: these children of your city, ill-dressed and ill-nourished, smelling of earth and rain and flesh. And, hark! far-off, through the death-fed trees, the music of a police siren, “monotonous and mortuary, was announcing the presence of an authoritarian constabulary, and the sweet sound blended with the humming noise of cars proceeding over the iron bridge.”

“F … f … fucker, bloody fucker …”

No reply, at this point, seems appropriate or called for. But that is increasingly the case in most of life’s situations, for you. A simple greeting across the lunch counter, a cheery “Enjoy the film!” from a cinema usherette, they each seem to demand the one, correct reply: that witty twist or humorous acknowledgement which would seal your commonality, commensals at the feast of life. You cannot achieve it. It demands a thousand words of long

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