Posted by on Feb 14, 2010 in Ego, France, Highlights, Humor, Idées, KeyText, Mystery, Shoah, Wars |

The famous French/Belgian poet, Henri Michaux speaks here of exhaustion.

Un homme paisible

Étendant les mains hors du lit, Plume fut étonné de ne pas rencontrer le mur. ” Tiens, pensa-t-il, les fourmis l’auront mangé… ” et il se rendormit.
Peu apres, sa femme l’attrapa et le secoua: “Regarde, dit-elle, fainéant! pendant que tu étais occupé à dormir on nous a volé notre maison.” En effet, un ciel intact s’étendait de tous côtés. “Bah, la chose est faite.” pensa-t-il.
Peu après, un bruit se fit entendre. C’était un train qui arrivait sur eux à toute allure. ” De l’air pressé qu’il a, pensa-t-il, il arrivera sûrement avant nous ” et il se rendormit.
Ensuite, le froid le réveilla. Il était tout trempé de sang. Quelques morceaux de sa femme gisaient près de lui. ” Avec le sang, pensa-t-il, surgissent toujours quantité de désagréments; si ce train pouvait n’être pas passé, j’en serais fort heureux. Mais puisqu’il est déjà passé… ” et il se rendormit.
– Voyons, disait le juge, comment expliquez-vous que votre femme se soit blessée au point qu’on l’ait trouvée partagée en huit morceaux, sans que vous, qui étiez à côté, ayez pu faire un geste pour l’en empêcher, sans même vous en être aperçu. Voilà le mystère. Toute l’affaire est là-dedans.
– Sur ce chemin, je ne peux pas l’aider, pensa Plume, et il se rendormit.
– L’exécution aura lieu demain. Accusé, avez-vous quelque chose à ajouter?
– Excusez-moi, dit-il, je n’ai pas suivi l’affaire. Et il se rendormit.

English Translation (by Marton)
A quiet man

Extending his hands out of bed, Plume was surprised not to meet the wall. “Well, he thought, the ants must have eaten it …” and he fell asleep again.
Shortly after, his wife grabbed him and shook him: “Look, she says, lazy you! while you were busy sleeping we were robbed of our house. “Indeed, an immaculate sky stretched on all sides. “Well, the thing is done.” He thought.
Soon after, a noise was heard. It was a train coming at them at full speed. “From its hurried look, he thought, it will surely arrive before we do” and again he fell asleep.
Then, the cold woke him up. He was soaked in blood. A few pieces of his wife were lying next to him. “With blood, he thought, there are always a great many problems; if this train could have not passed, I would be very happy. But since it has already passed … “and he went back to sleep.
– Well, said the judge, how do you explain that your wife injured herself to the point that she was found divided into eight pieces, without you, who were nearby, being able to make a gesture to prevent it, without you even having noticed it. That’s the mystery. Everything lies there.
– On that path, I cannot help him, thought Plume, and he fell back asleep.
– The execution will take place tomorrow. Accused, do you have something to add?
– Excuse me, he said, I have not followed the case. And he went back to sleep.

Référence. Henri Michaux, Un certain Plume, dans Plume précédé de Lointain intérieur, Paris, Gallimard, 1963, pp.139-140.


If you want more from Michaux, here are some of his night reports.