A JOURNAL OF EXTREMITY

Stéphane Mallarmé, "The Swan"

Virgin, vivacious, beautifully present day— will it rend for us with a beat of drunken wings this hard lake beneath whose frost

haunts the transparent glacier of flights never flown? From days of old, one swan recalls that it was he, magnificent, without hope,

who gave himself up for not having sung the land of life, when sterile winter glitters with ennui. His long neck will shuffle off

this blank agony— space that a bird disavows but not the horror of ground where plumage is trapped. A phantom that his pure blaze

assigns to this one zone, lying immobilized in the chill dreaming of his contempt, appareled in a fruitless exile— Swan.

Translation by James Kirkup. The painting is Robert Motherwell's "Mallarmé's Swan," from 1944.

Ross MacDonald, "The Galton Case"

Anne Carson, "The Albertine Workout"

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