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At the Edge of Time

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The stems of  the sun bent over the eye
             The sleeping man
The whole of  the earth
             And this head heavy with fear
In the night
This complete hole
                         Vast
And even so streaming with water
The noise
           The peals of  little bells mingled with the
               Clinking of glasses
                    And bursts of laughter
The head moves
On the carpet the body shifts
And turns over the warm spot
               At the slipping feet of  the animal
It’s that they’re waiting
                          For the summons of the shock
And the signal of  the eyelid
The ray relaxes
                          Sleep
                                      Light
And what is left shines at the edge of  the white rock

Source: Poetry (October 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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At the Edge of Time

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  • Reverdy began his career as a poet when he moved to Paris in 1910. His supporting father died a year later, so the aspiring poet was forced to eke out a living through his writing. He published his first small volume of poetry in 1915 and continued to write steadily thereafter. Gradually Reverdy became known in literary circles, frequenting the avant-garde group consisting of such wellknown artists and writers as Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, and Georges Braque. With these and other artists, Reverdy helped develop cubism and surrealism. In 1917 he founded the monthly literary review, Nord-Sud, which drew together the first cubists and surrealists. The review featured many innovative authors, including Apollinaire, Jacob, Louis Aragon, Andre Breton, and Philippe Soupault.

    When the collection of his early poems, Les Epaves du ciel, appeared in 1924, Reverdy achieved greater recognition as a poet. This early...

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