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I DID not wish to come into this street.


My heart, to be contented, needed now
A boulevard to a Cathedral's base.
Too closely all the houses here embrace;
From window unto window opposite
So short a distance have the smells to leap
I bear them in a tangle on my back,
As though they were the densest fleece of wool.


Too many vehicles run at my left,
Too many shops are masters at my right;
And I am like a wheat-grain pounded by
The stone that turns round and the stone that holds.


So many bodies in some floors vibrate;
So many clerks tread between cubic heaps
And by quadrangular pillars of raw linen
And cloth dyed newly; in the cellar stores,
Near stones and vats there are too many chests
Mewed waiting for a freshening breath of air;
The horses take such trouble not to knock
Their glabrous knee against the wheel of carts;
So many beds, in the darkness, where two bellies
Swell out towards each other like two clouds;
So many movements love, attenuate me;
And, without freeing me from distant places,
Nor even from the weight of other streets,
Without removing from my legs and heels
The viscous mud that after me I drag,
Since through the stagnant soul I lately passed
Of quarters sleeping in the morning sun;
Without preventing the entire town,
With all its houses and with all its trains,
All that is stirring, moving, or at rest,
Being here, more present to me than my heart;
This street, this single street, has so much vigour,
So many ways of reaching, having me,
So many shudderings like writhing snakes
For it to wind and wind about my limbs,
So many rhythms which caress or press,
I have no more the strength to think of it.