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Liberty

posted Aug 6, 2015, 2:07 PM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Aug 6, 2015, 2:34 PM ]
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This is by far my favorite poem, "Liberty" by Paul Éluard

I first read this poem when I was 9-10 years old. My dad brought home an encyclopedia about World War II and sometimes I used to sit in the living room and read it after I finished my school homework. The poem was at the very end of the last book next to an impressive picture in black and white showing two kids, barely clothed, walking on the road of what it seemed a city in ruins but smiling. This picture was taken at the end of WW II. Looking at the picture and then reading the poem had always a profound impact on me.

For many years I forgot about this poem until I watched the movie "Maps to the Stars" in 2014 and got re-acquainted with it. Throughout the film, liberal quotings from Paul Éluard's poem Liberté meander "through each of the characters' lives," creating an underlying mantra for the film. 

Here it is.

Liberty

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name

On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name

On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name

On the jungle the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name

On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name

On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name

On the fields the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name
 
On each breath of the dawn
On the ships on the sea
On the mountain demented
I write your name
 
On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name

On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name

On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name

On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name

On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name

On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name

On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name

On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name

On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name

On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name

On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name

On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name

By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you

LIBERTY