Friday, January 11, 2019


CharmsCharms and Other Pieces by Paul Valery, translated by Peter Dale, 98 pages

     There is in all beauty a forbiddance to touch,
     There emanates from it something indefinably of the sacred
     That arrests the movement and puts the man
     On the point of acting in fear of himself.

In Valery's better poems (and the quality tends to correlate directly with length) he marvelously explores the enchantment that connects word and world, a magic that is powerful enough to tempt him back, again and again, from oblivion.

     O massing of beatitude,
     You are so lovely, worthy prize
     You are, for every caring mood
     Of all the good and all the wise.

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