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Mirabeau Bridge

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Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away
          And lovers
    Must I be reminded
Joy came always after pain


         The night is a clock chiming
         The days go by not I


We're face to face and hand in hand
         While under the bridges
    Of embrace expire
Eternal tired tidal eyes


         The night is a clock chiming
         The days go by not I


Love elapses like the river
         Love goes by
    Poor life is indolent
And expectation always violent


         The night is a clock chiming
         The days go by not I


The days and equally the weeks elapse
         The past remains the past
    Love remains lost
Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away


         The night is a clock chiming
         The days go by not I

Guillaume Apollinaire. "Mirabeau Bridge" from Alcools, English translation copyright 1995 Donald Revell and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Alcools (Wesleyan University Press, 1995)
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Mirabeau Bridge

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  • Guillaume Apollinaire is considered one of the most important literary figures of the early twentieth century. His brief career influenced the development of such artistic movements as Futurism, Cubism, Dadaism, and Surrealism, and the legend of his personality—bohemian artist, raconteur, gourmand, soldier—became the model for avant-garde deportment. Although some critics hesitate to rank him with the greatest poets of the century, Apollinaire's legacy is claimed by such important literary innovators as Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, Jean Cocteau, and Gertrude Stein. Shortly before Apollinaire died, author Jacques Vache wrote to Andre Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement: "[Apollinaire] marks an epoch. The beautiful things we can do now!"

    According to most sources, Apollinaire was born in Rome, the illegitimate son of a Polish woman and an unidentified man—there is speculation that his father may have been an Italian military officer, a prelate, or even a cardinal in the...

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