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René Char - Resistance in Every Way

I am writing here as one of the numerous persons to whom René Char has given a reason for so many things, moral, psychological, and creative. And it’s of his life as a résistant that I’d like to write just a few words. He was not only a resistance fighter in the war—to which the Leaves of Hypnos bears witness—but a fighter all along on the moral plane, his whole life long.

The Companions in the Garden

Man is only a flower of air held by the earth, cursed by the stars, inhaled by death; the breath and the shadow of this coalition, sometimes, lift him up.

Here's to the Snake!

I sing of heat with the face of a newborn, desperate heat.

Jacquemard and Julia

Once the grass, at the hour when the roads of earth were harmonious in their decline, lifted its blades tenderly and turned on its lights. The horsemen of the day were born in the look of their love and the castles of their beloveds contained as many windows as the abyss holds slight storms.

Not to be Understood

In the course of the so dark struggle and the so dark immobility, terror blinding my kingdom, I rose from the winged lions of the harvest to the cold cry of the anemone.

The Shark and the Seagull

Finally I catch sight of the sea in its triple harmony, the sea whose crescent slices into the dynasty of absurd griefs, the great preserver of wild birds, the sea as credulous as a bindweed.

The Library is on Fire

Through the mouth of this cannon, it is snowing. It was hell in our head.

Hypnos Moon

In mid-July of 1944, the order from Algiers reached me in the Maquis at Céreste to be ready to take off during the next clandestine landing operation. The plane would alight after dark on one of our fields on Mont Ventoux and bring me out. Instead of delighting me, the prospect of leaving vexed me.

Leaves of Hypnos

As much as possible, teach how to become effective, only as far as the goal and no farther. Farther is smoke. Where there is smoke there is unpredictability.

Fort Chadwijk

As those among you with solid elementary school educations know, the Dutch were a water-oriented culture—inclined to reclaim land from the sea and ship goods by canals.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 07-JAN 08

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