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Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, Mexico

Sunday, February 14

Phillipe Beck - You must avoid touching (French - English translation)

You must avoid touching
You must avoid touching,
you must flee,
if you are wise,
the maniac poet.
The children
give him
chase, and, imprudently,
follow him.
while declaiming his verses,
with his head on high
and walking haphazardly,
he falls inadvertently,
into a well or a pit
like the birdcatcher 
who tracks blackbirds,
he might as well shout out
using all possible tones:
Help me! Hey!
no one or barely a one 
would save him from there.
how to know
if he didn't fall
into that hole
and if he would accept
to receive help?
wants to play
the god:
he throws himself
in cold blood
into the Etna, heating up,
and leaves foreseeingly
behind him,
on the verge if the fire
his speaking sandals. (1)
To save a poet
in spite of himself
is to kill him,
if he has
for good
intoxicated himself
with a magnificent 
historical death.
(Stanza according to Horace, Ars Poetica)

(1)  "He constantly wore brazen sandals on his feet, and when he threw himself into the flames of Aetna the violence of the fire threw back one of his sandals, which was afterward found, and thus discovered the cheat; so that Empedocles, instead of passing for a god, was exposed to the world as an arrant impostor", Fenelon, Abregé des Vies des anciens Philosophes

On se garde de toucher
On se garde de toucher,
on fuit,
si on est sage,
le poète maniaque.
Les enfants
lui donnent
la chasse, et, imprudemment,
le suivent.
déclamant ses vers
la tête haute
et allant au hasard,
il tombe par mégarde
dans un puits ou une fosse
comme l´oiseleur
qui piste les merles,
il peut bien crier
sur tous les tons :
Au secours! holà!
nul ou quasiment
ne va le tirer de là.
comment savoir
s´il n´est pas tombé
au trou
et s´il  acceptera
de l´aide?
Veut passer
pour un dieu :
il se jette
de sang-froid
dans l´Etna qui chauffe,
et laisse avec vista
derrière lui,
au bord du feu
des sandales parlantes.
Sauver un poète
malgré lui,
c´est le tuer,
s´il s´est
pour de bon
d´une mort magnifique
et historique.
(Stance d´après Horace, Epître aux Pisons)