L'étoile puante -3

(3) Maud

A Stereodrama in Dolby Surround

(where we see that Ed's writing is really as boring and empty as promised at the beginning of this series)

En poésie, les mots ont le vertige;
Ils se tiennent loin du bord de la page.
(E. Nement)

I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood,
Where a long time ago, I went to fetch my fern.
There is sticky mud all over the place,
And Echo there, whatever is ask'd her, answers 'Bullshit.'

I remember the time when the roots of my hair were stirr'd
By a shuffled step, by a vibration, by a flying cupboard,
And my pulses closed their gates with a shock on my heart as I saw
The fine dust and the dark mountains of the red sister planet.

I am sick of the pizza and the whisky, I am sick of the poetry and the blue planet.
Why should I stay? can a sweeter chance ever come to me here?
O, having the nerves of motion as well as the nerves of pain,
Were it not wise if I fled from the place and the whisky and the fear?
And most of all would I flee from the cruel madness of love,
The honey of poison-flowers and all the measureless ill.

I remember, I know not whence, of the singular beauty of Maud;
What is she now? My dreams are bad. She may bring me a curse.
No, there is fatter game on earth; she will let me alone.

If Maud were all that she seem'd,
And her smile had all that I dream'd,
Then the world were not so bitter
But a smile could make it sweet.

The fancy flatter'd my mind,
And again seem'd overbold;
Now I thought that she cared for me,
Now I thought she was kind
Only because she was cold.

For a raven ever croaks, at my side,
Keep watch and ward, keep watch and ward,
Or thou wilt prove their tool.
Yea, too, myself from myself I guard,
For often a man's own angry pride
Is cap and bells for a fool.

Villainy somewhere! whose? One says, we are villains all.
Not he: his honest fame should at least by me be maintained:
But that old man, Snorri, now lord of the Vulgarian people,
Was there to greet me where another was waited.

But these are the days of advance, the works of the men of mind,
When who but a fool would have faith in a poet's ware or his word?
Is it peace or war? Civil war, as I think, and that of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly bearing the sword.

For I trust if an enemy's fleet came yonder round by the moon,
And the rushing battle-bolt sang from the spaceship out of the night,
That the smooth-faced snubnosed rogue would leap from his hide and till,
And strike, if he could, were it but with his cheating yardwand, home.

We are puppets, Man in his pride, and Beauty fair in her flower;
Do we move ourselves, or are moved by an unseen hand at a game
That pushes us off from the board, and others ever succeed?
Ah yet, we cannot be kind to each other here for an hour;
We whisper, and hint, and chuckle, and grin at a brother's shame;
However we brave it out, we men are a little breed.

A monstrous eft was of old the Lord and Master of Stink,
For him did his high sun flame, and his river billowing ran,
And he felt himself in his force to be Nature's crowning race.
As nine months go to the shaping an infant ripe for his birth,
So many a million of ages have gone to the making of man:
He now is first, but is he the last? is he not too base?

Who knows the ways of the world?
Our planet is one, the suns are many, the world is wide.
Shall I weep if a moon fall? shall I shriek if an earth fail?
Or an infant civilisation be ruled with rod or with knout?

I felt a horror over me creep,
Prickle my skin and catch my breath,
The gates of Heaven are closed, and she is gone.

And there rises a passionate cry in the darkening land
Where each man walks with his head in a cloud of poisonous flies.
And the yellow vapours choke
The great city sounding wide;
The day comes, a dull red ball
Wrapt in drifts of lurid smoke
On the misty space-tide.
What is it, that has been done?
O dawn of Eden bright over earth and sky,
The fires of Hell brake out of thy rising sun,
The fires of Hell and of Hate.

For the prophecy given of old
And then not understood,
Has come to pass as foretold.

But now shine on, and what care I,
Who in this stormy gulf have found a pearl
The countercharm of space and hollow sky,
And do accept my madness, and would die
To save from some slight shame one simple girl.

O let the solid ground
Not fail beneath my feet
Before my life has found
What some have found so sweet;
Then let come what come may,
What matter if I go mad,
I shall have had my day.


La porte de l'armoire s'ouvrit.
En sortit d'un bond une longue fille aux cheveux noirs ébouriffés.
Maud tenait un pot en plastique, contenant une sorte de matière brune filandreuse.

- Je te rapporte Tennyson. Il n'a pas trop supporté le bouillon de poulet.
- Maud ! Mais Comment as-tu fait pour me retrouver ?
- Bah, j'ai interrogé Tennyson avant qu'il crève, et il m'a tout raconté.
- Quoi ?
- Mais non, idiot, comme tu ne revenais pas, je suis entrée dans ta chambre et j'ai trouvé le carnet où tu racontais ton histoire, et la formule que tu as prononcée. J'ai trouvé ça dingue, et j'ai voulu essayer pour rigoler.
Cette fille avait vraiment un cran étonnant.
- Maud, je suis tellement ...

La porte d'entrée s'ouvrit dans un fracas, cédant la place à Snorri entouré d'une dizaine d'hommes en uniformes.

- Bien, je vois que l'équipe est au complet ! Suivez moi, vous partez immédiatement.
- On part où ?
- Pour l'Etoile Puante, bien sûr. Votre vaisseau est prêt. Vous pouvez être fiers : vous allez sauver le monde !

A suivre ...