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Chedid's Creative Process
-VII- (Second Version)
 

L'homme

Tâte le sol

Avant d'y prendre racine

Tâtonne

Interroge

Les silences et le bruit

Puis entreprend sa marche oblique

Vers l'enigme des choses

Vers les fureurs de l'ombre

Vers le bienfait.

Man

Tests the ground

Before taking root

Gropes

Questions                               

Silences and noise

Then undertakes his oblique march

Toward the enigma of things

Toward the furies of the shadow

Toward their goodness.

Second line:

"Tâte le sol" [tests the ground] suggests "doubt or uncertainty" which did not exist in the first version, "touche le sol" [touches the ground].

Third line: 

"Route" [way], a monosyllabic word, is replaced by a two syllable word, "racine" [root] (also beginning with the letter "r"). Both "racine" and "le sol" allude to man's primordial roots. 

Seventh line:

"Avant" [before] is replaced with two words: an adverb of  time, "puis" and the third person singular verb, "entreprend" [undertake, start]. Even though the syntactic parallel between "avant d'y prendre route" in the third line and "avant sa marche oblique" in the seventh line no longer exists, the choice of "entreprend" keeps a syntactic parallel between the verbs in these two lines: "prendre racine" and "entreprend sa marche oblique."

Ninth and Tenth lines: 

Both possessive adjectives, "leur" [their] are replaced by the preposition, "vers" [toward] and the definite article, "les" or  le" [the]. An anaphoric use of this  preposition, "vers" becomes apparent in the last three lines of the poem. "Vers" also is a noun in French which means "a line of verse." "Faire des vers" means to "write poetry."

Ninth line:

The suffix "s" has been added to the end of "les fureurs." This new prepositional phrase, "les fureurs de l'ombre" [the furies of the shadow] is a source a new dialectical opposition between "the furies" who destroyed with fire and the "furies of the shadow" who "wept when they heard Orpheus implore the deities of the underworld to restore Eurydice to life" (Bulfinch's Mythology, 906)

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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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