Jean Arp

(16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966 / Strasbourg)

The Plain


I was alone with a chair on a plain
Which lost itself in an empty horizon.

The plain was flawlessly paved.
Nothing, absolutely nothing but the chair and I
were there.

The sky was forever blue,
No sun gave life to it.

An inscrutable, insensible light
illuminated the infinite plain.

To me this eternal day seemed to be projected --
artificially-- from a different sphere.

I was never sleepy nor hungry nor thirsty,
never hot nor cold.

Time was only an abstruse ghost
since nothing happened or changed.

In me Time still lived a little
This, mainly, thanks to the chair.

Because of my occupation with it
I did not completely
lose my sense of the past.

Now and then I'd hitch myself, as if I were a horse, to the chair
and trot around with it,
sometimes in circles,
and sometimes straight ahead.

I assume that I succeeded.

Whether I really succeeded I do not know
Since there was nothing in space
By which I could have checked my movements.

As I sat on the chair I pondered sadly, but not desperately,
Why the core of the world exuded such black light.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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