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The Domestic Stones (fragment)

Jean Arp 1886 (Hans Peter Wilhelm Arp Straßburg, Alsace-Lorraine) – 1966 (Basel, Canton of Basel-Stadt)

(Translated from the French by David Gascoyne)

The feet of morning the feet of noon and the feet of evening
walk ceaselessly round pickled buttocks
on the other hand the feet of midnight remain motionless
in their echo-woven baskets

consequently the lion is a diamond

on the sofas made of bread
are seated the dressed and the undressed
the undressed hold leaden swallows between their toes
the dressed hold leaden nests between their fingers
at all hours the undressed get dressed again
and the dressed get undressed
and exchange the leaden swallows for the leaden nests

consequently the tail is an umbrella

a mouth opens within another mouth
and within this mouth another mouth
and within this mouth another mouth
and so on without end
it is a sad perspective
which adds an I-don't-know-what
to another I-don't-know-what

consequently the grasshopper is a column

the pianos with heads and tails
place pianos with heads and tails
on their heads and their tails

consequently the tongue is a chair

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Jean Arp

Hans Peter Wilhelm Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966), better known as Jean Arp in English, was a German-French sculptor, painter, and poet, and worked in other media such as torn and pasted paper. He was known as Dadaist and abstract artist.  more…

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