BEYOND ELSEWHERE by French poet Gabriel Arnou–Laujeac, translated by Hélène Cardona, creates a new mythopoetic language of transformation. The story told moves the reader across a lyrical landscape that marks the passage of one person’s journey through human desire, passionate love, awakening, and spiritual transformation.
The lover and the beloved are one, becoming one flesh, nearly one mind. They are wedded to one another in a mystical sense. Twin souls, who embrace each other willingly and begin to touch on a mystery, which lies just beyond their earthly sense, where something more is revealed and unveiled.
“The light is here, with her.
She reveals herself to my gaze naturally, the way spring unveils the blueness of sky or the gold of your skin. She slowly removes makeup, masks and ornaments, and gives me a vision of herself bewitched, of herself bewitching: she adores me and I unlock her.
Sprung raw from a virginal flame, passion takes us whole under its animal breath; the sun sparks impale our bodies galloping in a crash of oceans.”
This is poetic myth making in the truest sense, and in discovering what wisdom we can within life as it unfolds before us. If we will listen carefully, breathing in and out with each verse, becoming more aware and embrace an abundant life, unafraid of our own humanity. Especially when we are lost within desire, and come to know that the search for the beloved is a quest for the soul held softly within eternity.
The poem asks us to stand “beyond the borders of nothingness” and to embrace, the infinite possibilities of “becoming and non-becoming, within everything and outside of everything,” resting in the openness of creation.
“I remember a Kingdom that is neither here nor elsewhere, but which offers its love right here to those by emptiness abandoned. I remember the All Other. It was me.”
The poet’s words through translation become an invocation to the heavens and of the spirit. They transport us to the edge of what we know, beseeching us endlessly, to see the unseen and invisible reality that surrounds us every day. In an exquisite tongue, the poet invites us to partake of all that is and has been, beyond ordinary time and vision.
He speaks to us:
I hold the keys to another world: a solar dynasty triumphing
over the arbitrary as well as over dust.
Beyond this day-by-day too narrow…
I’ll take you where the wind-people exile themselves…
I take you: to Yourself.”
In the final stanzas, the poem gives us an invocation of the spirit; an innovative set of prayers, which invokes a divine memory we may celebrate as a remembrance of spirit and truth. And as sacramental liturgy, where we recall who we are within creation and beyond, this realm of many different perceptions, worlds without end.
I invoke the new dawn nestling in the aurora…
I invoke the fiery opening between Heaven and Earth…
I invoke the music of the spheres…
The poetic journey resolves to its essence, its whole, and the gestalt in this narrative poem’s final stanzas. They speak of truth, of memory and pathways, and finally of silence. Become a fellow Traveller with us, take the journey and discover these words in your own worthy time. See, what you might have forgotten, or what you have learned and remembered within your life. Let your soul reminisce, in other words, in these words.
Publisher ~ Saint Julian Press
Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac is one of French poetry's most innovative new voices. The author of the acclaimed Beyond Elsewhere (Editionsdu Cygne, 2013), he graduated from Sciences Po (Institute of Political Studies) and holds a Research Master's in Human Rights (Fondements des Droits de l'Homme). He also studied Western Philosophy at university and Indian Classical Philosophy with traditional acharyas (Hindu scholars). Publications include Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l'Inférieur, 2013), Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, Littérales, Polyglotte, Recours au Poème, Testament, 3è Millénaire and L'Opinion indépendante. He contributed to the book Irak, la faute, with Alain Michel and Fabien Voyer (Éditions du Cerf, 2000).
Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor, the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Hemingway Grant and the USA Best Book Award. Her books include three poetry collections, most recently Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry), and Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry); and three translations: Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press), Ce que nous portons (by Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne), and Walt Whitman's Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb. Junimea Editions published a Romanian translation of Dreaming My Animal Selves in 2016. Hélène's work has also been translated into thirteen languages. She contributes essays to The London Magazine and co-edits Plume Journal and Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. She holds a Master's in American Literature from the Sorbonne, and taught at Hamilton College & Loyola Marymount University.