Friday, 2 August 2013
THE ANGEL HANDED ME A BOOK
Placing a book in my hands, the angel said, “It holds all you would wish to know.” And he vanished.
So I opened the book, which wasn’t thick.
It was written in an unknown alphabet.
Scholars translated it, but produced very different versions.
They disagreed even about their own readings, agreeing neither upon the tops or bottoms of them, nor the beginnings, nor the ends.
Toward the close of this vision, it seemed to me that the book
melted, until it could no longer be told apart from the world that surrounds us.
translated from the French by Carolyn Forché
Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. His interests were sufficiently broad that he can be classified as a polymath.