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8 poems

translated from the French of 
Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes


These are the first eight of Ribemont-Dessaignes's long sequence of poems, Ecce Homo (1945). 'Ariane' translates into English as 'Ariadne' but I kept the French version as more evocative of longing. '1003' is the number of the women Don Giovanni's seduced in Spain according to Mozart's opera. Ribemont-Dessaignes was a composer as well as poet, novelist, painter and playwright, and apparently planned to write his own opera on the story of Don Juan, but I still think that he has in mind the 'multitude of enemies' the poet contains in René Daumal's great poem Holy War, accessible in an English translation at

Prelude- on origins
Appeal to a mirror
Second appeal to a mirror
Young Pan
To know
Ariane - waxen beauty
On a wax figure