In front of me, the sea. I contemplate the Horizon behind the horizon, where waves and ether marry. I’m a grain of sand in an ellipsis, a sun shard mingled with stardust haloing the still bare strand.
This is the absolute dawn.
The large azure bust stretches on the vast sea’s sapphire bed. The elusive embraces the unfathomable in a long silence reflecting the ineffable. The sleepy-eyed Day awakens, spreads its ray, illuminating everything. The horizontal and vertical merge and challenge the blowing winds from east to west, from north to south, joined in the plenitude of a union without oblivion.
Everything here is an Elsewhere.
I invoke the new dawn nestling in the aurora, aurora surrendering to the impetus of day, silently proclaiming the advent of the sun king. I invoke the glory of the scintillating monarch, escorted by the invisible, advancing on an invincible chariot whose light is the archer, and the infinite, its target.
I invoke the fiery eye opening between Heaven and Earth, in their center enthroned the way the heart reigns at the core of being. I invoke its visionary flame, without which all is only orphan shadows, haunted by the dark orb of ghostly skies.
I invoke its splendorous displays that swallow us in solitude – where nothing is lacking, where nothing is excluded – and echo the memory of a plenitude to be resurrected. I invoke the star from elsewhere bearing the blueprint for enlightenment and fire, and the light of the whole world within.
I invoke the music of the spheres engraved on the golden disc’s infinite grooves: I invoke the sun’s soul and its great, still unheard love cry.
I invoke the original lovers, Heaven and Earth, their bodies touching and merging until indivisible at the end of the horizon. I invoke the inexhaustible progenitor, the rod from beyond the grave whose embrace resurrects, its demiurgic waters bathing the naked body of this world.
I invoke Earth swallowing the heavenly seed, the tireless waves washing over her hips, Life plummeting from the Infinite like a meteor shower. I invoke the million wings lifting Earth, the flight offered to platitudes here below, the contagious fervor of high winds inhaling us in their Lung and propelling us in the immensity.
I invoke heaven’s seal that is Breath, indomitable Breath, Breath that pierces, purifies, resuscitates all it embraces in its elusive dance; and the fiery bush burning our finiteness, our servitudes and our dust, to reawaken in its heart, freed from space and time, their laws rendered powerless.
When all seems gone, the black night’s Truth remains in the time of celestial assimilations, the great luminaries contemplating one another, eyes closed. The invisible Seer remains, the one nameless Being transcending all images.
Memory and path remain: a spark through the thread of an oblique beam back to the Sun; a pilgrim retracing the sky’s fingerprints to their invisible source; a tightrope walker on razor’s edge between mirror and veil of inner being; a soul in exile scampering against the void and running into the arms of Love.
The echo of silence remains, arising in defiance of the night, so the promise of return can vibrate and resound in the heart of stateless souls who know they don’t belong here, nor elsewhere, and even less now.
Translation: Hélène Cardona
Excerpt from Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016) by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, translated from the French by Hélène Cardona.
Beyond Elsewhere was awarded a Hemingway Grant by the French Ministry of Culture,
the Institut Francais, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
First published in the literary journal Fjords.
Beyond Elsewhere, White Pine Press:
About Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac
Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, author of Beyond Elsewhere (Éditions du Cygne, 2013), is published in numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry, including Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l’Inférieur, 2013), and Poètes français et marocains, Anthologie 2 (Éditions Polyglotte, 2014), in the literary journals Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, Littérales, Polyglotte, Recours au Poème, Testament, in the magazines 3è Millénaire and L’Opinion indépendante, and contributed to Irak, la faute, by Alain Michel and Fabien Voyer (Éditions du Cerf, 2000).
Gabriel graduated from Sciences Po and holds a Master’s degree (Fondements des Droits de l’Homme). After studying philosophy and Eastern poetry, he became fascinated with the history and ideas of the great religions and their poetic expression in particular, which took him to India six years later…
Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor, the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Hemingway Grant and the USA Best Book Award. Her books include three bilingual poetry collections, most recently Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016), and Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013); and two translations: Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016), and Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne, 2014). She also translated Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for the Iowa International Writing Program’s WhitmanWeb.
She co-edits Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, is Co-International Editor of Plume, Essay contributor to The London Magazine, and co-producer of the documentary Pablo Neruda: The Poet’s Calling. She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College & Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. Publications include Washington Square, World Literature Today, Poetry International, The Irish Literary Times, Dublin Review of Books, The Warwick Review & elsewhere.
Hélène had roles in Chocolat, Jurassic World, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Mumford. For Serendipity she co-wrote with director Peter Chelsom & composer Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang. She is the Computer Voice in the TV series Heroes Reborn.
Hélène is the Computer Voice in the TV series Heroes Reborn: