Carlo Suarés : Joe Bousquet
(Extract from The Universe of Parapsychology and Esotericism, Volume 2, Martinsart editions, 1976)

On May 27, 1918, during the attack on Bois-le-Prjtre, twenty-one year old Joe Bousquet fell wounded by a bullet in the spine. He lived paralyzed in Carcassonne and died on September 28, 1950.

Short story, made up of a single event, dramatic; total, but thirty years of writing of which we have not yet made a complete inventory, and a vital experience of this wound, lived as a death renewed at every moment, of which we understand nothing which is not the very contribution of the reader.

In his posthumous book published by Gallimard in 1973, Mystique (his most precious manuscript, discovered by a series of "coincidences" dear to Bousquet), Xavier Bordes begins the preface as follows: "Joe Bousquet's books read us. "It is true: we do not" read "Bousquet, he penetrates those whose depth receives him, when he is never there. "The death of my work was in me," he writes (Mystique, p. 127 and p. 200). I would like to enter the whole person of another man without preventing him from being him."

Joe Bousquet

His work? Forty titles; a large number of articles and essays, published in almost all the magazines of his time; huge correspondence; scattered notes; stories. The whole is elusive. At no time can we say: "here is a well-constructed novel, a well-ordered short story"; or "we are in the midst of poetry"; or "this is a mystical story". When we believe it in full delirium, a word, an observation, or a reference to some text of philosophy, or the description, hilarious, of a person show it to us totally engaged, seeing everything, understanding everything, as if the the appearance of things presented itself to him only to reveal to him the negation of what it is.

Twenty years after his death, Bousquet began to rise to the surface of the literary world. Theses have appeared on him, or are under development. But where do you get this innumerable man? Poet, mystic, philosopher, essayist, storyteller of course, he is all that perhaps, but for having surpassed each of these conditions; could we not rather say that he is one of those very rare humans to have crossed the wall of light, prodigious routes which remained so long in the secrets of occultism?

"All of Joe Bousquet's writings, writes Jean Cassou prefacing Langage Entier (Rougerie, 1966), of such a special nature and which, up to now, have given rise to fervent and profound exegesis, but necessarily fragmentary, must be brought together and published. They form, correspondence included, of course, a huge whole whose reading followed may seem very difficult to the reader on this side of the wall, but which must be saved, preserved, studied as one of the most admirable testimonies of the power of the spirit of man."

For the purposes of this Encyclopedia, I think I cannot do better than reproducing the essay that I had the pleasure of publishing in the Cahiers du Sud (Cahier n 0 159) in February 1934. I already said there that I have to say today. I will then give some information on the event which caused his injury: details which he had confided to me in a letter.

The Winter Evening Meeting. By Joe Bousquet, Iditions Debresse, Paris.y

A novel ? Rather a song to a voice. Almost without accompaniment. A nocturnal melody. The street singer, unless it is Pierrot mortally wounded in who knows what fight, dreams of his love. Does he dream it? Rather, he weaves it on the fabric of his life, on the things that the outside world never fails to lavish on him, on each event that awaits him. At the moment when, moreover, we believe him the most immersed in himself, we realize that he observes everything, that he is lucid. The characters who elbow him, passers-by or parents, country travelers or uncle notary, he pierces them with his eyes, he knocks the masks off. His compassion is merciless for this humanity that is so little human. Pierrot is mortally affected, but in a definitely comic world.

And she, Annie, the object of this desperate love? "She was a woman in me and was distinguished from my love only by the flash of a face where the beauty of the world looked at me. "This childhood friend, who still remembers so well yesterday when she was a little girl, has surges of maternal love, little girl abandonment. "I need to be carried by something weak that is stronger than me," she says.

Just like Didi {See, It's not dark enough, by Joe Bousquet (same publisher)], Annie is a kid whose fresh face and childlike simplicity play a key role in the love they arouse. The poet who loves him truly takes it for an object, at the very time when he feels he lives most in it. When she talks, she's a little kid who will never understand anything about him. This is one of the reasons he likes it. Purely sensual love, but this sensuality is forced at every moment, we do not know by what fatality, to flee, to transfigure in the mind of the poet, to lead him almost in spite of himself in a creative reality, a thousand times more vivid, more tenacious, than love itself. This love obliges to surpass oneself. He forces to die where he can only resuscitate. He leads himself by the hand towards the regions where he ceases to exist only to be purely himself. Contradiction if you like. At all times this love, in contact with its own flesh, rebounds to change its state, and this despite itself. There is no aspiration. It is not spiritual research. On the contrary, he clings to everything he can. There is regret, nostalgia in him. He would like to be this flesh of Annie, of Annie who writes like this: "tell me who is the poet you love". Because Annie is witness to this conflict, but poetry, her rival, she asks "tell me who is the poet you love". That's all Annie can understand. She will never know more. What is the point of trying to explain to him?

This is the start, the mechanism of this inner movement by which Bousquet finds himself at every moment in the universe that his love flees from, and which forces this love to deny itself in order to be fulfilled. But all this movement is already seen on the other side. It already appears to us in the reversal imposed on it by reality. (Doesn't reality overturn what, not being real, took itself for such, and gave the appearance of it?) And therein lies the essential with regard to Bousquet. It is at the heart of his poetic creation, in his interior realization, in his unification within his own life, it is there that we must go to find him, to understand the prodigious scope of his work.

This is a new definition of poetry that should be found to define Bousquet. I indeed take his expression for a miracle of pure poetry, which is nothing like established. It comes from a poetic expression about which I hesitate to pronounce the word mysticism, although I would like to mention it. Mysticism and poetry: two words which should appear at each of their new manifestations stripped of all previous meaning; two words that it is up to each mystic and each poet to rename, to recreate, to bring out the indeterminate. But alas, few words are accompanied by a multitude of associations as execrable as the word mysticism, and there are as many poems as there are true and false poets ...

I have already said that this is not Boussquet's aspiration or spiritual quest. Aspiration and research are only the failures of poetry and mysticism. They are the device by which their defeat is veiled. Let us not be deceived by their touching accent. If the human movement which they evoke has so far very little emerged from the unconscious, if it has bequeathed us more testimonies of bankruptcies than of successes, let us beware of decorating it with the attributes of these bankruptcies! So beware of talking about God about mysticism. God is the failure, even in union. A true unification of the individual in his own essence must eliminate any idea of ??principle, of divinity, of cause. These precautions which I surround myself with regarding the word mysticism with regard to Bousquet are essential. To guide the reader of this note I will say that the experience of Proust, his perception of the timeless which recreated in him the sign of each thing, is a good example, in my opinion, of a mystical experience, because stripped of all religious superstition. But Bousquet goes further in a similar experience, and above all (I come to the point on which I will insist) his experience, although it is from the same family as those we knew, is so diametrically opposed to everything what we have seen, is so much a challenge to all that we were used to seeing, that I am not afraid to affirm that this achievement brings to human history a unique document, a true revelation of what that we have so far considered impossible.

We remember Proust's cry: "Heavenly bliss! All the other cries of mystical realization are identical to this one, except that of Bousquet. Man, emerging from duration into the timeless, burns his past, or rather reabsorbs it in a fire that recreates it. This creative awakening, similar to a new birth, takes each time, except for Bousquet, the aspect of a more or less complete identification with life (I summarize by this word all its analogues). The cry "I am the Life" is the limit affirmation that generates this human alchemy.

"Life has robbed me of myself." On the contrary, this is the astonishing observation of Bousquet, in opposition to all the others. And this statement alone creates a whole new world of thought and love. We know that this universe is authentic and total. We recognize its validity. Suddenly this man begins to speak, and it is not him it is his life which speaks about him. Here she is poorer than the poorest, wandering through the world of objects, asking each object to baptize him, this man who is no longer there, to baptize his life with his own gaze that the world has captured . That look ! This extraordinary manifestation of a life that did not want him! Of a life that chased him! This drama of the man dispossessed is constantly played out by his gaze, by his gaze which does not arise from himself, but from the objects he creates. Because objects exist in relation to the dispossessed, only to the extent that his own existence is denied by its accomplishment!

"Annie's nudity drank all my eyes and left only my eyes ... This flower hid in its brightness the sources of my gaze. And I thought she was going to, pure light from my body, bloom in all my flesh in the morning with my tender eyes that closed with pleasure ... "These are two absolutely revealing sentences. In contact with Annie, the one speaking is the dispossessed. It is always so. But elsewhere in the region where this love is already transfigured, it is his life that speaks. And her life notices that her gaze is generated by the object, and she wonders if this object, thus become the very light of the abandoned body, if this object will, being light, make the eyes of this flesh already bloom ready to receive that kiss

So complete reversal of what we were used to that we resist. We resist the evidence of the impossible. We resist the very particular way in which this impossible asserts itself. I think of Bousquet's style. A style which in advance rejects those who will not make the effort to adapt to it. Style of which one wonders, if one has not understood its necessity, why it does not cease to come back on itself as in the intention to disturb us, why it insists on making play on the subject a role of object and to the object the role of subject, why it makes us go up at each instant its own current, why it obliges us to abandon each object for its attribute, as if the being of this object had no access to it. "Oaks and chestnut trees looked at me with their depth where my gaze did not penetrate: did not penetrate at least, without becoming unreal. And I felt the transparency go there to meet these undecided stars, to discover another life there in the luminous matter of my love. It is in their depth that the trees look in him; it is in this depth that his gaze becomes unreal; it is not his gaze but his transparency that goes to the stars; to discover another life not in his love but in his luminous matter.

This is a universe which has its own biological laws. This expression is the perfectly organic matter of the mystical, or poetic experience, of which I speak, and of which I have just given the key. An experience so important that it deserves to be understood in its innumerable consequences. I can only, in a note, indicate it. I want to say that it strikes me as more remarkable for its uniqueness, for its challenge to what we take for granted, than for its purity. She doesn't seem to have devastated Bousquet yet as much as she could. She seems to surprise me a little herself, just as she surprises us. She lingers on conflicts so that sparks arise. I want to clarify this point so that a reader who is too hasty does not make me say that I hold the realization of Bousquet for the greatest revelation in human history. I say that to my knowledge, it is unique in its character. It indicates to us that a human realization is possible by a way which seemed to us a dead end, by a way of which we did not suspect the existence. On this path, Bousquet is alone. I don't know anyone who came before him, no one who follows him. Hence its invaluable price, and the countless discoveries we owe it.

If we wanted to examine it carefully, we would not be long in exploiting this new universe, or rather its possibilities because, in a probable not accepted, it seems to reign all the impossible coincidences. Bousquet seems to prove to us that only the indefinite is real. Theologians perish! Bousquet is right. He's right whatever he says. We can no more question its reality than that of music. Just as sounds in any case testify to music (we do not say: I hear sounds, but is the music real?), So the work of Bousquet testifies to its poetic and philosophical reality. It carries with it such a character of obvious plasticity, that by admitting that we have for our misfortune a system of the world according to which Bousquet would be in the work, it would make us obligatory the revision of it.

"It is not dark enough!" This is the cry of light according to Bousquet. Light is bright light, and vision, only to the extent that it is murdered. Our universe has captured infinite movement in a constant of 300,000 kilometers per second. This constant, number, is a real murder of absolute light, of absolute movement. And this absolute is black and icy. For this black, absolute, indefinite light, in which no possibility has yet been sacrificed, all life is dead. It is she who is dispossessed in beings, it is she who has come, on the other hand, to dispossess Bousquet of hers. And by seizing the being of Bousquet, this Bousquet identified from then on with its destiny, it is she, black light, who cries and who cries to be manifested!

She is the one who speaks, who explains, who renames objects, who generates them in the naked man. It is she who demands that everyone identify with her destiny, it is she who indicates this destiny by innumerable signs which we must be able to read. These are the signs that Bousquet is studying. In fact, is it not simply a conjunction of signs, whose role is to identify them?

"... I have often said to myself that I was the man of my life ..." And this conjunction is inevitable. It seems to be imposed on life; in this black light, it seems to have been imposed since the foundation of the world ... "I told myself by holding my breath that if I had not been there, there would still have been a motionless man against the wall and that this man would have been me ... "And the light can neither refuse nor accept this symbolic man who assassinates him, or rather she finds herself forced both to accept it and not to accept it ..." I was at world of what dies; and I had eyes to see the wind going back to the sources of the first freshness where life defends itself that we have never lived it Cosmic drama, drama of the uncreated in the created, where the created being is debate in this vehement negation of himself that is his own life ... "And then, a cry that was not mine. Because nothing has ever belonged to me except my tiredness and the broken voice of my pain. I am the master of the soul which envelops me in its bosom ... "It is therefore the man who is definitely struck with unreality within this major reality that is life ..." I said to myself: my life here is nothing but the enchantment of my life. I am in this world only a fable on my own lips ... "

I affirm that I quoted at random. The substance of this book is a crystal so hard that everything is consistent. Not a word denies the others. At no time does the author leave his universe to contradict him. We cannot fault it once. His testimony is incredibly truthful.

I do not hope to have given an adequate idea of ??this book. Its 150 short pages, and the few hundred pages of It is not dark enough, constitute a richer human contribution than many large volumes. In my haste to report it I did not want to wait to make a study which would no longer have found a place in these chronicles. I would have encouraged the reader of this note to read these two small volumes. I wish I had made it easier for them. I will not tell them the fascination of this reading. This magical poetry, this moving destiny, stir us and recreate us with their love.

With forty years of hindsight, these lines appear as a kind of prototype of what some writings of Bousquet can offer readers, with the exception of many others: essays of philosophy, criticism, light poetry, and above all this inescapable Midisant by Bonté, where, in a stunning style, our author gives the society which surrounds him descriptions which should have long ago found their place in our best classics.

There is, however, one caveat: this experience that Bousquet had gone through (his injury) did not seem to have devastated him as much as she could have done. There was, in fact, in this year 1934, something very serious, very important, which I guessed in him, and I was certain that it was too intimate and painful for him to dare to declare it publicly. I therefore set out to request it. "You are hiding the essentials from us," I said. You delay the moment of jumping all in your pain. You're not quite yourself yet. The deep affection that united us since our first meeting forced me to these exhortations. They only succeeded after two years, when my friend agreed, in his own words, that there would be more sacrifice in not saying everything than in omitting a single detail from the story he was willing to do me. So I received the following letter (published in Letters to Carlo Suarhs, Rougerie, 1973). (For the clarity of this reading, I must specify that my familiar first name is Joe; Bousquet was happy with this coincidence).

Carcassonne, May 3, 1936

My dear Joe,

If I am happy, twice happy that you take responsibility twice to talk about my book, in Europe and the Cahiers du Sud! It is all the more providential that the book has sunk into total, unequaled silence; and that, already, Denokl did not hide his surprise from me ... which leaves me ashamed and worried about the future. Whatever. I have your support, I will have that of Cassou to whom I will write, I hope to get out of this step. As for the information that you ask me, I will provide it to you as faithful as possible: I agree with you that everything must be said and that we do not know the importance of the sacrifice that we would make by omitting a detail. So I have no embarrassment to tell you about my condition. It may be more difficult to enlighten you on the military circumstances of my injury. But the two orders of facts being linked, I must pass over the confusion I experience in resuscitating a time which seems to come back to the surface only to threaten my current personality. We will assume that you were already my comrade in 1915-1916 and that I did not have to form confidences with these facts that you would have experienced with me.

1914-1915. It was life in the provinces, on my return from England and at the end of philosophy, with all the advantages that the adventurous young people gave the absence of men. I do not insist on this extraordinarily free and, in the provincial sense, scandalous life except to give meaning to my departure which took place on January 10, 1916, normal in itself since the young people of my age shared my lot, but which was to be underlined a few months later, when once appointed midshipman, I left as a volunteer for an infantry regiment of the 20th corps, the 156th.

Nothing more premeditated than this whim. I knew where I was going, the risks involved; and I couldn't find any other way out of a moral situation that seemed to me more and more suffocating every day. From that moment, I had seen that life could give me nothing, apart from the fleeting satisfaction of flouting its customs. Satisfaction that is not likely to survive extreme youth ...

I fell into a very interesting regiment, a well-trained eastern unit where the knowledge of each non-commissioned officer sparks new emotion. It was, through the features that the daily newspapers attributed to these elite fighters, the dizzying flourishing of a youth like mine, perhaps less adulterated. A frankness in looks, a loyalty in relationships, a tone to speak of the dead who made me aspire as to incredible happiness at the privilege of being named by these soldiers a friend. Ah! how the quality of southern weighed me first! How much I felt that it was necessary, at all costs, that I assimilate morally to these silent and flexible men and on whom the most inconceivable tragic burden weighed. Precisely I had joined the regiment in a very long rest which was devoted to repeating the maneuver of the next attack. Put as an aspirant at the head of a section, I looked with emotion at the faces of the men who obeyed me and that I would, in a few days, lead to death, inexperienced as I was.

April 16, 1917 was approaching. It was the famous attack. We had to burst the German lines and head for Laon. But it was necessary, during the advance, to cross the Fin; and volunteers were asked to command the patrollers who, at one point in the action, were to go forward as lost children. I asked for this mission. You see, that is what matters: my nineteen-year-old boy, who thought that this attack was still likely to be insipid in the light of the desire that had come to me to play my life.

What the attack was, you know. The German defense was formidable. After a few hours of combat, the detachment to which I was attached was surrounded and the three officers who commanded it killed one after the other with 8/10 of the strength. I took command of the rest and, with a few men, fought all morning in the German trench where the corpses of ours were piled up. At around noon, I had the upper hand, I was free and could carry myself forward: I had twelve men living out of more than a hundred and we were embarrassed by fifteen prisoners and two machine guns that we had taken. In this regiment accustomed to hard knocks the business made noise. I had been called to the order of the army and at the same time decorated with the military medal, which represented a bewildering reward for a non-commissioned officer who had just received the baptism of fire. The second lieutenant's braid immediately followed. I was forced into the shoes of an officer made for dangerous hands and operations.

What it was the following year, you can easily imagine. I maintained my reputation as a daredevil by boring reconnaissance and detail battles, and that led to my first injury I received in Lorraine in July 1917.

Cared for in Nancy. Celebration. And the greatest disgust. This war would never end. What good is it to fight. And what if we came back. I used to take cocaine with small cranes. And then, on a whim again, I asked the hospital for a seven-day leave for Biziers where my father was the chief medical officer there. I wanted to go back to the regiment.

t was a sweet month of October whose beauty I will never forget. In this city, so warm with such blue nights, I had to see a very beautiful young woman who, a few months before, during one of my leaves, had asked me to write to her. She had large dark eyes so deep that one did not wonder, as soon as she opened her mouth if she spoke, if she sang, if she remembered. I realize when I think of her that I never, even at that time, bothered to understand her. Of all the mistresses we gathered around us in a few days, this one was the most beautiful, the most elegant, I didn't say anything else. No doubt I had been sincere in the promise we had exchanged to marry after the war. But of this social solution and its abandonment which, in this time of death, could only be the price, what counted most for me, it was the great physical exaltation which hid my fate from me. Because the hero of the first days was far away. In my child's play uniform, with my shorts of decorations, I was a condemned man, someone who did not believe in the virtue of the plans that were formed for him.

Joe, my dear, very dear friend, imagine this time whose memory really brings tears to my eyes. Everyone around me, you know them. Imagine, in this sunny Biziers, my younger father with his doctor-commander uniform, my younger sister who couldnt hide her anxiety and begged me to be hospitalized in Biziers, which would have been so easy, my father being the chief doctor of this city. Well ! I swear I wanted to. It was sunny. The women had the beauty of the day in their eyes, in their voices. I would stay there for a while. In myself I already thought that the post-war period would no doubt be easy. My friend was rich, very rich even; my parents were in much better shape than they are today. But it was necessary to foresee a thousand difficulties. My mother's anger when she would know that I wanted to marry a divorced woman ... And above all, I couldn't. I insist, because there has been a phenomenon identical to that which today makes me unhappy and happy. Just as I sometimes suffer terribly from feeling in relation to the groups that you form in Paris someone tangent, insufficiently prepared, so I suddenly saw myself outside of everything that made my being the more real. I told myself, you understand, that I was going to give the right to all these men so chic, so elegant, so brave to speak of me only in relation to something else, and by singing my accent for example. One fine morning, this seven-day leave was coming to an end, I didn't want it any more, I wrote to the colonel of my regiment so that he would even avoid the compulsory stay at the depot of the division. A few days later, I was in a front line company.

Verdun, fights, quotes. Then it was the famous spring of 1918. The fatal outcome was approaching, I saw it coming. At Mount Kemmel, where I had a very moving quote, already, I had almost been caught or killed in a case in which I had been very recklessly engaged. I got away with abrasions and a bullet in the collar of my coat. Then, it was the last rest in Aisne where my fate joined me. My letters, it seems, were sad. I knew it was over. It would take too long to tell you about a few daily adventures that danced around the great black specter that wanted to take my place. But my friend from Biziers paled a little in my memory. Already in January in Verdun, she almost had me stupidly killed by announcing to me in an atrocious letter that she was going to commit suicide and that when I read her letter I had to consider her as dead. The violent engagement which, precisely, had followed that evening, finding me completely mad with pain, had miraculously left me standing, holding only one new quote. But this time it was going to go wrong. (Pay attention to all these details!)

This young woman, not resurrected, but by a subsequent letter, elated to find herself still alive and confused to have "in a moment of panic" write anything, this young woman, of the same upset writing, wrote to me that all was lost, his father having read my letters and that I had nothing left, if I loved him but to make public my intention to marry him.

needed this reagent to understand that I was little made to share his life. However, the fear of breaking such a spontaneous and natural creature made me postpone a decision that could change my life.

And then the alert order came. At midnight, the 27th of this month, eighteen years ago, trucks came to pick us up, dropped us off in a calm spring campaign at daybreak. Joe! this last vision of the trees and the green wheat and which never, you hear, imposed itself on me with as much violence as at this moment when I write to you It was very hot in the wood of holm oaks that we had crossed to take position. I wanted to stop. The anguish in my heart made me love the faint murmur of the leaves stretched out in their scent of the sun more and I thought it was this anguish that prevented me from loving this spectacle and enjoying it more. At the end of the wood, there was an injured artillery officer in conversation with our somewhat pale colonel. The whole line had jumped. Ten German divisions had rushed into the breach: there were a few regiments to stop them. I was given an order. I executed it.

I didn't have to stay long at the locations where I was first shipped. Recalled by a liaison officer, I was brought into a command post where a captain adjutant consulted a map. Other officers from my battalion were assembled. The adjutant looked at us: "Alas! my poor friends, this is orange peel! - The orange peel? asked a company commander. - Yes, replied this brave, my fourth stripe which is fucked up!

Let's move on! We hired two companies that merged. At five o'clock in the evening I was ordered to come to their aid. Can you imagine my state of mind, this letter from my friend in my jacket, the future clogged up as we are, at twenty, so quick to believe? I deployed my men on a tray covered with crops. The first shells arrived. The wheats were so high that you could no longer see those who had fallen, detached by a white flake from the small columns with which they were progressing. My captain followed me for a while. He was still suffering from an injury received at Mount Kemmel. He feared for me. Suddenly, he took me by the arm: "I forbid you," he said to me, "to cross the Vailly road. "There was, I thought, panic in his voice, it was just tenderness.

I did not listen to him. On the other hand, I had received this cruel order which can be summed up in a few words and which says so much: "Hold at all costs! I counted with my eyes the men who had to be killed with me.

Finally, we came out under fire. Some fugitives, wounded, came to meet us. I waved them aside, forbidding them to talk to my soldiers that I didn't want to demoralize. I can see it all again as if I was still there. German planes were spinning in the sky, a village was burning. On the ridges closing the horizon you could see the German columns, reserves of the troops I was going to strike in the valley. A hunter on horseback galloped under the first bullets carrying me for the second time, from the division, an exhortation to hold at all costs. It was almost superfluous: I had had enough. My men were deployed, now forming the first wave of defense, because the companies to whose aid I was helping had already withdrawn when I thought they were prisoners. Leaving my men behind, I tried to carry myself through infantry barrages to bus holes where unhappy lonely, captive network of projectiles, were waiting to be prisoners. I came back with difficulty among my men and I started the fire.

The Germans were advancing on three sides at the same time, forty times more numerous than us, covered by a very violent fire which began to hurt me and kill me of men. It lasted long enough and the enemy was advancing. When the most advanced elements were only fifty meters away, some men got up to flee and I had to force them back into the ditch where we had organized, very poorly, a position of fortune. And then, I understood that it was finished and I remained standing.

This is how I saw the officers, whose place I had taken up, fall on April 16, 1917. I didn't have to wait long. A bullet hit me in the chest, two fingers from the right shoulder, obliquely crossing my lungs to exit through the tip of the left shoulder blade; which caused, at the same time, to projectile through my two lungs and the front part of the vertebral body. I fell, hearing a cry, but it seems that it was not I who shouted. A corporal shouted, "What a pity! The lieutenant is killed. I called him: I told him that I was going to die and that everyone had to fall back immediately to escape the enemy's fire. We shouted, "On the orders of the retired lieutenant." But some men ran towards me, refusing, despite my orders, to abandon me. Several times I told them that they were saving me in vain and that it was better to abandon myself on this plateau where night was falling quickly now covering the increasingly rapid advance

I was taken in spite of myself completely inert already. Because the shock immediately paralyzed the legs. I can still see the look I was turning to my suddenly disjointed legs that I no longer recognized with these dark red boots that seemed to complete the toilet of a dead man.

My injured captain came to meet me: this is where my confidences become difficult. You will understand me. It was played, it was over, there was nothing left but to take it well. I hadnt lost consciousness, maybe I was calmer than when I wrote to you. In the transparency of the purple sky, it was not the images of my life that passed, but like a ridiculous procession and already affected by nothingness, all the skeletons of the Projects that at every moment we form without knowing it and that prevent the sensations of being a confused mass. The desire to love, the framework that my thought lent to all the returns to the house, all that undone of itself, made recede by fainting the form that we lend to life to let it remain that the present moment which was a little color, freshness, rest. Ah! then I felt that everything in me was not passed out; and there was only a feeling at the bottom of which I was deposited, inert, like a heap of flesh heavy enough to cover me, the next instant, whole. My captain spoke to me, I answered him with great calm and an indifference that was not feigned. He was crying, and I did not understand until that time how much this man loved me: "Bousquet, he said, my little Bousquet, we will heal you. - No, I replied, I'm lost, but that doesnt matter at all. And I remember I asked him if I had done everything he expected of me; and if he was happy to have had me under his orders. So he kissed me. He said in my ear, "Bousquet, you will pray for me! He had twelve hours to live. But you will understand why the one hundred percent atheist that I am, has a Mass said secretly every year for this officer without family, priest of his state.

I was carried away. A certain Balmain, who lives in Paris and whom I could give you the address, captain of the machine gun company, then came to me and we talked. Really I just wanted to show off and I greeted him with jokes. I think he was more moved than me. But these were the last convulsions, and a quarter of an hour later I was sinking into blood and fainting. No sooner had I recognized the doctor speaking to me at the aid station. And I came back to the ambulance. Complete paralysis. It was the second life that began. You know exactly my condition. I never got up except in the summer to sit in an armchair. I am helpless. Anyway. The only point to deepen in the above would be this conversation with Balmain that I never saw again. I don't know what he does: he was an aggregator of mathematics; may have become a teacher, or, stay in the military, work in a ministry. If you want to see it, it's easy to find. This requires that you address the headquarters of the Society of Elders of the 156th and 356th infantry regiments, whose president is Robert Tarbhs who sells, in Paris, chocolate, I believe, and all products originating in Venezuela . It would be necessary to search in the Directory either in Tarbhs, or in the military companies, and besides, this address, I have it in a corner, it takes a happy chance so that I find it. Balmain is part of the group and if you saw him, you would have through him a completely misleading point of view on my life as an officer and revelations which undoubtedly are ready to amaze me myself on my last moments in the other world. The more I think about it, the more I tell myself that one day you will have to go see Balmain, ask him for an account of the incidents so far from me.

The hospital: an English hospital in Ris-Orangis where I had responded with signs of denial to those who asked me if I knew English. So, you understand, to attend all the consultations where the diagnosis was debated. I must have told you how, hidden in this hypothetical ignorance of English, I heard a nurse say to the doctor, in the radio room where they had just laid me naked, for examination: "What a pity that such a beautiful boy is lost! (Excuse me for repeating this!) I must not have raised an eyebrow since it was after the doctor's response that someone cried when he saw my face: "You do not see that he understands you ? "No doubt my face had blossomed because the doctor had replied:" No! He is not lost. And even I am inclined to believe that it will work like everyone else! "The prognosis was not to be confirmed, but that is not what matters ...

I will not tell you what I suffered. Once I had returned to the South, I refused to receive my friend, not because I had a grudge against her, but because, lost as I felt I was, I was counting on my brutality to untie d 'suddenly a fertile situation with future misunderstandings, necessary heartbreak ... Carcassonne, work, life. Then, violence done to my will to isolation by this same friend who had ended up guessing the causes of my fierce silence. Poor love grafted onto this rotten trunk. It is likely that it was necessary, because a truth still had to be revealed, it was necessary that the meaning of all this appeared.

My friend wrote to me. Letters, always as tender. And, finally, I decided to be transported to a city of waters where it was decided that she would come to see me.

She came. No matter what our meeting was. Plans for the future, hope caressed together by a healing that would allow us to live together. And suddenly, V ..., more cuddly than ever: "Listen, Joe, I have a confession to make to you, I hesitated for a long time, but I must speak: you will be surprised not to recognize my writing on the letters that I will write to you now ..."

I felt like I was going to be hurt for the second time. I asked for explanations: "You were far away, an accident could happen to you, we could have found my letters on you by picking you up ... - An accident? - Yes, you understand, you could be killed ... - So what? - So all my letters were copies of the ones I would have sent to you if I hadt been so careful. It was a friend of mine and not me who wrote to you. Your return to Carcassonne made the precaution superfluous, but I was trapped in my cunning, and the means to provide an explanation from so far? In short, this pathetic letter received in Verdun where it was said that she was going to die and that the immensity of her despair dictated this final farewell to her, the crazy letter that was in the pocket of my jacket when I received this bullet, all that, Joe, it was chewy, the application to a few unforeseen cases of a method of prudence, the extension to these exceptional cases of a system that my behavior forbade me to suspect or understand. And as I expressed my bewilderment: "But you weren't even married. Didn't your divorce leave you free? "

Answer: "Not divorced, but in the process of divorce, the proceedings having been interrupted by the war. A letter from me, written during the separation, could have been used by my former husband and hurt my material interests."

That day, old man, I was my age. I understood everything. I smiled. I had just understood the war, to understand what society was. For a long time, I had not been so gay; and no doubt that this exquisite madwoman thought that the pill passed very easily. The rest is nothing. We didn't stop seeing each other until long after.

This is where I should note that I only noticed a bizarre irregularity ten months ago. I was poor, you know, always embarrassed, always cramped. I received twenty thousand francs less each year than I owed. I didn't care so much about my pension regulations that I was given half the salary I received for my injury. I condemned myself to the most shameful mediocrity: out of indifference, out of disgust at this kind of complaint. Put by chance on the path of this irregularity I have already been able to obtain a partial recovery, but must still count on long delays before obtaining total justice. Still I was told that I will never be entitled to recover the lost money.

Is it pretty enough? I told you about it as best I forgot what role I played in telling the whole story of my bizarre journey. This is strangely beyond the framework of confessions that you asked me. But I wanted to give you this proof of friendship by giving you a complete confidence. Glad to provide you with proof that I was made to be your friend.

I kiss you, dear Joe. This long letter exhausted me. I have always been your friend.

Your joe

As for the substance, and also its form, I take this story for one of the heights of human expression. Bousquet, by virtue of his confidence, found himself integrated into the life-death, which in obedience to his destiny, he had gone to gather.

The invisible had guided him beyond himself, in his own vocation, that of language: "... there is not a truth which does not awaken the truth of which it is the language. (Sleeping Beauty was awakened because there were maids outside her door), "he writes in Mystique. And this, in capitals: "What man sees as the toy of his imagination, it is in relation to the invisible. It looks like I am in relation to being what the images are in my heart. "

And again in capitals: "I want my language to become the whole being of what, in me, was only entitled to silence. And again: "Man must make himself indivisible. And again: "Man's responsibility is unlimited. "

Unlimited going through the needle hole of his own calling, of course. Unlimited in the indivisible of his being and doing: in his ability to do. Bousquet, finding himself, "born by his wound" as he declares after declaring himself, becomes the attentive and precise craftsman of the only language which suits his new state: that "which plugs the holes dug by words ".

It is therefore useless to try to follow him if one does not perceive that his language is "from beyond life". Certainly he met his corpse. But, he writes in Mystique again: "One can die by the soul or by the body. "

"He who dies of the soul leaves only a shadow in the hands of the gravediggers. "

"You die of the body in the groans of a soul that a ruin trapped. "

I do not know anyone who, like Bousquet, answers these terrible words of Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, logion 66): "He who has known the world has found a corpse: and whoever has found a corpse, the world is not not worthy of him. "

But for the threshold of a new era, where this Encyclopedia intends to make its mark, here are a few words, in terms of will and at the same time of opening:

"I write for those who will come later, with souls like me, pure enough to feel hurt by life even as I was hurt by death. How is our being not our insurmountable pain when we feel it weigh on the vision that we are? (Mystic).


In her heretical love for the World (Revue Be Free. No 98-99-100. October 1953 - January 1954)

/ In his heretical love for the world, Joe Bousquet had substituted his mystique of the irrational for the body of which he only knew the absence. Wounded, become a motionless traveler, captive of a passionate passivity, the poet of Carcassonne came to embody what, before him, had only been suspected: Absence realizing. Bousquet, struck down by the war, became the opaque reverse side of things; passed, by this bullet in the vertebrae, passed the mirror, and what others had dreamed of (Novalis with his Hymns to the Night, Hvlderlin with his Empedocles, the surrealists with the Unconscious), here he realizes it gives the body he no longer has, in fact the body he lacks.

/ Joe Bousquet was no longer fleshy, but his speech clad him

/ The key to Bousquet's work is love. In this inimitable love letter which goes from "It is not dark enough" to "The Snow of another Age", we listen: we hear the night no longer being the night, but rediscover where the only night is deep, between the bones, among this flesh which offers itself to the sun as if the sun were the silence of the body. You can hear the big horse riding through the wind, so much so that the storm rocks the sleep of women still young enough to suddenly be able to fall into the purple boats of the encounter of love encounters. Bousquet had death pegged to the body. And love, which can only be imagined as eternal, made him forget that in the night of his bones death held its foundations, that in the silence of the body the swinging doors of the night opened on death, the gatherer of branches .

The almost exclusive attention that the poet of Carcassonne paid, during his last years, to the problem of language, proves that it was speech that Bousquet wanted to make his life. To reach the apotheosis and escape from the eternal recession, language had to identify itself in us with the ontological wound, embody our cursed part, that is the impossible and at the same time escape the pre- avicennienne to obey the scotian univocity. Provided that language is united to Being by univocity, Knowledge consecrates a way of existing and the one who, from speech, made the glory of the admirable instant cannot escape eternity ... The last a book on which Bousquet worked, "Les Capitales", by Jean Paulhan, risks revolutionizing the traditional philosophy of language and seems to provide a definitive answer to the problems raised by our best philosophers: Brice Parain, Francis Ponge, jean Paulhan, etc.

Suzanne ANDRE and Hubert JUIN

Joe Bousquet par Carlo Suarés - 3e millénaire