The Saint Apocalypse of Jean
For some, poetry, is a matter of words; for others, it is a matter of ideas. Let’s reconcile the two sides using the method found in La Fontaine’s fable: The Oyster and the Litigants. Poetry is music made with words, thus made with ideas. Unless we think poetry is born of rare or precious words colliding, regardless of any meaning, or that it is produced by ideology organised into a phraseology that the use of verses clarify, poetry is first and foremost a song that instils meaning into chaos.
Jean Lambert-wild sings his song, and doing so he joins the primitive lineage of poets who sing the world’s genealogy with eddur, geneses, sagas. In L’Ombelle du trépassé (The Deceased’s Umbel), it is a Celtic world that he intones. Because the piece is in Breton, but also because of the world it creates: a realm of yellow brooms and a sombre sea, of thick spindrifts and grey stones. And also because Jean Lambert-wild directs his gaze higher and further than where the sky of Christian traditions end, this small and vaguely sublunar world. Instead, he looks at the cosmos, the ontological abyss that provokes states of unnameable exhilaration for the shaman who walks, calm and upright, towards the black hole into which they plunge their soul.
Jean offers a version of the apocalypse in a cosmos that doesn’t deny the different languages, pagan, Christian, Breton, that once attempted to say it. In an athanor that bears his initials, he mixes “the faith of the stars” and “the virgin’s milk”. Indeed, if the Milky Way exists, it is because Hera’s milk splashed across the universe and studded the darkness with phosphorescent stains.
In one pagan Grail, he pours the witches’ Sabbath and Saint Michael’s weighing of souls. The mixture he obtains is sublimated by a song that recalls the Chorus of Greek tragedies. What for? To solve a problem that was set down in the same way one extracts a thorn from a burning bush: “the opaque quality of being myself”, writes Jean Lambert-wild. What we need, in this opacity, is a splash of milk.
Such luminous fluid thrown to the stars encounters there a form of wisdom. Which one? “Become who you are not”, like an inverted version of Nietzsche, that reverser of values. “Become who you are”, wrote the philosopher and poet Pindar. For such an idea to be right and true, we had to believe that our destiny was written in the movement of the cosmos. Then, we only have to want what wants us to be.
It is the opposite that Jean Lambert-wild proposes: he wants to become what he isn’t. In other words, he wants, with words, to erase the opacity of his being in favour of a form of light that is also song, music. Then, does he know it? he becomes Schopenhauer-like, music-ing the world that is just one great energy diversely modified. His poem is a fragment of the cosmos.
Preface to L’Ombelle du trépassé
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