Jean Arp

(16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966 / Strasbourg)

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The Domestic Stones (fragment)


(Translated from the French by David Gascoyne)

The feet of morning the feet of noon and the feet of evening
walk ceaselessly round pickled buttocks
on the other hand the feet of midnight remain motionless
in their echo-woven baskets

consequently the lion is a diamond

on the sofas made of bread
are seated the dressed and the undressed
the undressed hold leaden swallows between their toes
the dressed hold leaden nests between their fingers
at all hours the undressed get dressed again
and the dressed get undressed
and exchange the leaden swallows for the leaden nests

consequently the tail is an umbrella

a mouth opens within another mouth
and within this mouth another mouth
and within this mouth another mouth
and so on without end
it is a sad perspective
which adds an I-don't-know-what
to another I-don't-know-what

consequently the grasshopper is a column

the pianos with heads and tails
place pianos with heads and tails
on their heads and their tails

consequently the tongue is a chair

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie - 393 Points Michelle Claus (7/30/2014 4:08:00 PM)

    I won't pretend to understand this poem in a way that I can articulate. I do enjoy it, because it is odd and it forces me to scramble the logic in my brain. I don't think it is a nonsense poem, like Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. I believe that Jean Arp wrote this piece with intention and meaning, even if the intention and meaning are private and personal. I rather admire lines like *consequently the lion is a diamond*. Why not? (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,629 Points K.c. Ford (7/30/2014 1:59:00 AM)

    The paper it was written on has more value than the words written...........Absolute crap! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 207 Points Jack Growden (7/30/2013 4:39:00 AM)

    PLEASE READ MY COLLECTION! I am a young, aspiring poet so rate and comment as you see fit. http: //www.poemhunter.com/jack-growden-2 (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,578 Points Douglas Scotney (7/30/2012 9:18:00 PM)

    ...you don't want to know what surrounded by such delicate bliss, just keep the bliss coming... (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 2,430 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (7/30/2012 8:00:00 AM)

    A perspective opens another perspective, another perspective opens another perspective and another.... Perspective proceeding towards infinity. Content yet keeps untouched. Sometimes it feels undressing is better than dressed up. Sometimes it feels buttock is more valuable than passing moments where moments keep its feet, nails, teeth and the whole struggle of expressing an idea to communicate with..... Piano or lioness, which one is more precious yet to be defined long. (Report) Reply

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