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Chedid's Creative Process
-VII- (Fourth Version) & (Final Version)

-VII-Fourth Version

L'homme
Tâte le sol
Avant d'y prendre racine

Puis il entreprend
Sa marche oblique
Vers l'enigme des choses
Entre silence
Et bruits.

-VII-Final Version

L'homme

Man

Tâte le sol

Tests the ground

Avant d'y prendre racine

Before taking root there

 

 

Puis entreprend

Then he starts

Sa marche oblique

His oblique march

Vers l'enigme des choses

Toward the mystery of things

 

 

Entre silence

Between silence

Et bruits.

And sounds.

The fourth version is dated "27/1/94" (27 January 1994), double-spaced, typewritten (computer) and contains only one correction in the fourth line made with a black felt-tip pen.  Here, I have followed the fourth version with the definitive version.  Note the difference in the graphic space:  the line in the fourth version that are double-spaced become single-spaced in the final version.  All lines reflect the corrections made in the third version except for the fourth line where the pronoun, "il" is deleted.

During the course of these four versions, Chedid reduces the original ten lines of this poem to eight, thereby, refining and redefining the poetic structure.  The reader witnesses a "paring-down effect" of words and definite articles by the act of deletion.
Typographically, the final version of the poem is composed of a tercet and a cinquain.The tercet consists of one sentence:  "L'homme tâte le sol avant d'y prendre racine" as well as the cinquain:  "Puis [il] entreprend sa march oblique vers l'enigme des choses entre silence et bruits."  The blank space between the tercet and the cinquain indicates the passage between the concrete:  "L'homme tâte le sol" and the abstract:  "Vers l'enigme des choses."

In conclusion, Chedid's work here, written over a period of ten days in 1994, demonstrates a complex poetic synthesis, a "tissage" or "weaving" of concrete and abstract concepts.  By means of deictics and compression, Chedid builds a space for the reader's mind to inhabit.  In this space, the exploration of one's self leads to the discovery of the Other.  Poetry is the site in which this discovery takes place, the site that unites us.  Chedid described this poetic synthesis when she gave her latest definition of poetry as the place "where there is the universal sacred bonding of men and the universal sacredness of silence and death" (Chedid International Colloquium, York University, Toronto, Canada, May 1995).

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FOUR VERSIONS OF A POEM, L’HOMME OR VII First Version Second Version Third Version Fourth and Final Version
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