Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


A Throw of the Dice [excerpt]

     NOTHING




              of the memorable crisis
                       or might
                                  the event        have been accomplished in view of all results  null
                                                                                                                             human

                                                                                               WILL HAVE TAKEN PLACE
                                                                        an ordinary elevation pours out absence

                                                                                                                 BUT THE PLACE
                                          some splashing below of water as if to disperse the empty act
                                                                                 abruptly which otherwise
                                                                            by its falsehood
                                                                      would have founded
                                                                                      perdition

                                           in these latitudes 
                                                           of indeterminate
                                                                      waves
                                                                           in which all reality dissolves

EXCEPT
           on high
                       PERHAPS
                                  as far as place            can fuse with the beyond

                                                                                        aside from the interest
                                                                                    marked out to it
                                                                                                           in general
                                                              by a certain obliquity through a certain declivity
                                                                                                               of fires
                                                                     toward
                                                                         what must be
                                                                              the Septentrion as well as North
  
                                                                                                             A CONSTELLATION

                                                                          cold from forgetfulness and desuetude
                                                                                                         not so much
                                                                                                 that it doesn't number
                                                                                on some vacant and superior surface
                                                                                                    the successive shock
                                                                                                            in the way of stars
                                                                                of a total account in the making

                                                         keeping vigil
                                                                    doubting
                                                                           rolling
                                                                                shining and meditating

                                                                                            before coming to a halt
                                                                                     at some terminus that sanctifies it


                                                                                  All Thought emits a Throw of the Dice

Credit


From Collected Poems (University of California Press, 1994) by Stéphane Mallarmé. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Author


Stéphane Mallarmé

Born on March 18, 1842 in Paris, Etienne (Stéphane) Mallarmé was

Date Published: 1994-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/throw-dice-excerpt