The Dream of a Curious Man

Painting by Claude Monet (1873)

Do you know, as I do, how suffering can be savoured,
And do you make people say of you, ‘what a strange man!’
I was going to die. My amorous soul felt desire mingled with horror,
An illness peculiar to itself;

Anguish and lively hope, without any impulse to protest.
The lower the fatal hourglass sank,
The more savage and delicious was my torture;
All my heart was tearing itself away from the familiar world.

I was like the child desperate to see the play,
Hating the curtain as one hates a barrier…
At last the cold truth revealed itself:

I had died without surprise, and the terrible dawn
Was enfolding me. – ‘What! is that all?’
The curtain had risen and I was still waiting.