Friday, October 21, 2011

asides - paul valéry

by Paul Valéry (tr. William Jay Smith

What do you do?  Why, everything.
What are you worth?  Worth, well,
The worth of mastery and disgust,
Presentiment and trial . . .
What are you worth?  Worth, well . . .
What do you want?  Nothing, all.

What do you know?  Boredom.
What can you do?  Dream?
And with the power of the mind
Can turn the morning into night.
What can you do?  Dream,
And so drive boredom from the mind.

What do you want?  My own good.
What must you do?  Learn.
Learn and master and foresee,
All, of course, to no good.
What do you fear?  The will.
Who are you?  Nothing, nothing at all.

Where are you going?  To death.
What will you do there?  Die;
Nor ever return to this rotten game,
Forever and ever and ever the same.
Where are you going?  To die.
What will you do there?  Be dead.

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