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Paris, 1951

The Poetry of David Rosenmann-Taub
in Cortejo y Epinicio and in Los Surcos Inundados

by Francis de Miomandre


I have recently received from Chile... Los Surcos Inundados (The Flooded Furrows) and Cortejo y Epinicio (Cortege and Epinicion) by David Rosenmann-Taub. These two books have an absolutely exceptional quality and tone, and I see no one, even in France, who dares to approach poetic expression with such a heartrending violence. The pain of living, the despair and harshness of one's daily experiences, the futility of all of love's impulses toward creation, and lastly the obsession with death, line by line inspire this lyricism that is overflowing with ardor and is, as it were, discouraged in advance. To round out this too cursory portrait, one would have to note the part played by an almost delirious humor and imagination.

Well, such is the magic of art (when it is conjoined with that of sincerity) that the final impression given by such a reading is of beauty. David Rosenmann-Taub is an authentic poet, living in the midst of a world whose every aspect is endowed with a symbolic meaning, which makes him, in a way in spite of himself, the brother of those countless existences, from that of the lamb to that of the snake. Committed poetry. Ah yes, this poetry really is. Committed to the pain of living, committed to the solidarity of suffering. Listen to this moan, this death rattle:

…Man licks the earth, and the earth falls onto man.
Man penetrates the earth.
And the crying of the earth wet man's brow.

The earth with its deep hollow,
bed of light,
prepares the dream.
One must sleep the dream of the earth.
One must sleep.
Rest on the earth
a calm brow.
Press with fingernail and mouth and thirst
the resounding waterfall of earth,
its turbulent box
sailing toward peace.

Like a scream of water, time penetrates into the earth of bones.
It goes toward the sleeper.
It asks him if the dream tastes of earth.

And the sleeper does not know whether to say
      "I want"
            or keep silent...

[Cortejo y Epinicio, first edition: Poem LXVII.]

Is not this wavering between a bedazzled acceptance and a horror-filled refusal the very attitude of the poet and the mystic? This lyricism of agony is very near to our heart.

Bitter and harrowing, David Rosenmann-Taub's poetry is beset today by all the anxieties of the future.

It seems that diurnal life here is still entirely impregnated by a nightmare; the poet himself does not quite know whether this nightmare is actually the true reality, whereas normal existence, which the others live, and with which they make do, may be an illusion of their stubborn optimism. The Eloi, for which the Morlocks are watching out, as in Wells' terrible tale. Love alone, love that is half tenderness and half sensuality, would counterbalance this organic anguish; but this only lasts for the blazing instant of one's ecstasy and one falls back immediately into the frightful obsession with "sarcasm".