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Henri Michaux

Tu t'en vas sans moi, ma vie.
Tu roules.
Et moi j'attends encore de faire un pas.
Tu portes ailleurs la bataille.
Tu me désertes ainsi.
Je ne t'ai jamais suivie.
Je ne vois pas clair dans tes offres.
Le petit peu que je veux, 
     jamais tu ne l'apportes.
A cause de ce manque, j'aspire à tant.
A tant de choses, à presque l'infini...
A cause de ce peu qui manque,
     que jamais tu n'apportes.

Henri Michaux

You're going someplace without me, my life.
You're rolling away.
And I'm still waiting to make my move.
You've taken the battle somewhere
Abandoning me on the way.
I never followed, I stay.
Where you are leading me,
     I can't plainly see.
The very little that I want,
     you never bring to me.
Because of this emptiness, I want
So many things, almost the infinite...
Because of this emptiness,
     that you never fill.

(translated by Valerie Smith and James Bushnik)

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The son of a Catholic lawyer, Henri Michaux was born in 1899 in Namur, Belgium. In 1923 Michaux started to write for Franz Hellens's magazine Le Disque Vert. When his parents did not approve his way of living, he moved to Paris and supported himself by working as a teacher and secretary.

Michaux began to paint and became interested in the works of Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Giorgio Chirico, and Salvador Dali. "The Surrealist supernatural is a bit predictable," he said, "but given the choice between supernatural and anything else, I would have no hesitation. Long live supernatural!"

His journeys led him to Africa, India and China.

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Ma Vie

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