The True Insider

We can rely on Michaux, he won’t give in. He’s resisting.

He has a plastic soul. The afterlife appears to him, disappears, then reappears, – he reports.

He knows a lot about the afterlife. Appeared, bearing, acute, powerful, acid, placid, allied, folded, ridden day and night, brushing against the abysses, eluding the peaks.

On returning, for a long time we look for an image, an echo. We never find it, to tell the truth. But tracks open up, in obscure verses, in tense words, in opaque silences, in heard allusions.

Decades go by. By ricochet, I perceive a faint voice perhaps, a resonance in a few lines of Michaux.

« For the girl from the mountain

secret, reserved

the apparition was a person,

a goddess? »

He then gives a straight answer to his own question:

« especially light,

only light

as light it remained ».i

The next verse makes another string sing.

« Simultaneously

as the soil on the slopes of an erupting volcano is torn away…

the general unclipping inside and around it took place.

singular entrenchment, unknown


……….. »

The suspension points in the text are original. But why this unusual word: ‘unclipping’?

From some obsolete corset, does it evoke strapped breasts that are suddenly released? How to apply this word inside the soul?

The poet takes his risk. He tells what he may not have seen, but has guessed. He goes down narrow paths, he the celebrated poet, turning his back on the Paris of avenues, of lights. He even dares to use capital letters:

« In the young and pure face, the initiated gaze…

Mirror of Knowledge

contemplation of the True, ignored by others. »ii

The True! Knowledge! Mirror ! No wonder Sartre and sarcastic others ignored him royally, that Michaux.

Today, there’s so much inaudibility that everything is so unpredictable. That’s what we can no longer expect, – the predictable, the True! Knowledge!

Luckily Michaux still talks to us about the True, as a true Insider.

iHenri Michaux. Text dedicated to Lokenath Bhattacharya. Gallimard, Paris, 1986.