to Nadar

Have you felt—I have—a pain that you enjoyed?
Do they say about you, too: “How strange he is!”
—I was dying, and a special agony
filled my eager soul: dread and desire,

anguish and expectation—no sense of revolt.
The closer I came to what would be the end,
the sharper was my torment and the more welcome;
my heart was wrenching free from the usual world.

I was like a child in front of a stage,
hating the curtain as if it were in the way...
Finally the cold truth was revealed:

I had simply died, and the terrible dawn
enveloped me. Could this be all there is?
The curtain was up, and I was waiting still.