Saturday, August 25, 2007


I especially love this poem. Of course a Frenchman (okay, Belgian) would think to carry a bed where-ever he goes just in case he sees a beautiful woman, oui?

Simplicity by Henri Michaux

What has been missing in my life until now is simplicity. I am beginning to change, little by little.
For example, now I always go out with my bed, and when a woman pleases me, I take her to bed immediately.
If her ears are ugly or large, or her nose, I take them off with her clothes, and put them under the bed. I keep only what I like.
If her underthings could use a change, I change them right away. That is my gift. If, on the other hand, I see a more beautiful woman passing by, I excuse myself to the first and make her disappear at once.
Some who know me suggest I am incapable of doing just what I said, that I haven’t the temperament. I once believed so myself, but that was because I wasn’t doing everything exactly as I pleased.
Now all my afternoons are good. (Mornings, I work.)

Translated by Nin Andrews from Someone Wants to Steal My Name, CSU Press, 888-278-6473


Bobby Farouk said...

How old was he when this was written?

Nin Andrews said...

He published it first in a collection in 1930 when he was 31 years old. About the same time he wrote "Mes Occupations," which begins: "It's the rare person I meet whom I don't want to beat up."

SarahJane said...

"Mes Occupations" is a favorite of mine. I think it would do everyone good to read that now and then. Thanks for your translation of the underthings poem. i love that one, too.

Seth said...

I love him too. Thanks for the translation. And "Mes Occupations" is an all-time classic...

schabrieres said...

Awesome poem!!! Michaux is a genius!

Joey said...

I love Michaux, too. A. I am writing to you from a far-off country, B. My Occupations [trans. R. Ellman]--"I can rarely see anyone without fighting him," C. the magic stuff and Plume, D. The Session with the Sack.

Marcelo Solis said...

I read this poem when I was 17. Now I am 44. I manage my growth to go in the direction of this poem.
Truly: all my afternoons are great!
I thank Henri for his guidance and you for transltion and sharing.