The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes

By Daryl Hine 1936–2012 Daryl Hine
The sight of beauty simply makes us sick:   
There are too many hours in the day,   
Too many wicked faces built like flowers   
And far too many bargains for a song.   
Jade and paste, cashmere and ormolu—
Who said that all the arts aspire to music?   
It’s obvious, for time is obvious,
That all that art aspires to is junk.

Blackmailed by these mathoms of the past,   
One is indebted for another perspective   
To quaint giraffes and quainter wallabies,   
The nearly human and the faintly monstrous,   
The outrageously contemporary joke.   
Trespassing on a no man’s territory,
Unlike the moralist one is at a loss
Where to be human is not to be at home.

In a zoo, you see, one can acquire nothing:   
Zebras aren’t wishes. Nor is the flea market
Exactly the place for those who know what they want.   
Like far out stations on the Metro (which they are)   
Somewhere, in heaven perhaps, they correspond,   
In the heaven of open arms and unpaid bills,   
Where beer is drunk on the lawn all afternoon   
And every night we bid, and make, a slam.

Daryl Hine, “The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes” from Minutes (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1968). Copyright © 1968 by Daryl Hine. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Minutes: Poems (1968)

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Poet Daryl Hine 1936–2012


Subjects Travels & Journeys, Activities

 Daryl  Hine


Poet, editor, and translator Daryl Hine was born in 1936 in British Columbia and grew up in New Westminster. His mother’s death while he was still a teenager had a profound influence on him. He studied Classics and philosophy at McGill University, and he earned his PhD in comparative literature from the University of Chicago. The editor of Poetry from 1968-78, Hine was also a highly regarded translator of Classical writers such . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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