(excerpt) (…)Utility, beautiful, good, value – what are they good for? We only have to strip the object of all these cretinized uniforms. Sometimes I catch myself providing it with them. Then the object looks crippled, fettered. The force of habit, this idiotic habit that disfigures us. To know the object does not mean to enclose it in one or another of these relations. To know it means to free it. Of course, not to isolate it: on the contrary, to equally take it out of an isolation as deadly as some relations we have been wont to see it in; to let it move freely in a series of different relations in which its luminosity is not impaired, relations into which the object enters naturally, unhindered, only to isolate itself in a new cycle."Le discours, en effet, même lorsqu'il s'efforce d'évoquer dans notre esprit l'image réelle des objets, n'a pas pour but d'en donner la perception sensible, mais seulement d'en faire naître l'idée. Dès lors les traits particuliers, quoiqu'ils ne fassent que se succéder, sont saisis par l'esprit, qui sait de cette multiplicité se former une image unique…"This is Hegel speaking, and many poets know it – the proof is in their poems. It is the great advantage of the mystery-poem, of the mystery-woman, of the mystery-object, of the mystery-hair, of the mystery-glance, of the mystery-kiss, of the mystery-sleep, of the mystery-corridor, of the mystery-jungle, of the mystery-walk, of the mystery-setting. And when I say mystery I do not have in mind the riddle that can be solved, and whose meaning, in the end, is the same for everybody, regardless of one's crazy wish that the wheel symbolized love, or the sun – a meeting point. When I say mystery I think of the woman who passes by (always a woman), clad in the twilight purple, at a brisk pace, the woman who bites the asphalt with each move of her silver shoe, who is keeping her right hand by her heart while her left hand is holding (which does not bother her in the least, as it seems) an instrument with a superbly doubtful usefulness, perhaps a guillotine blade, something very sharp in any case. What can she do with that mystery-object, the mystery-woman? We may even wonder where she is going to, beneath the sweet beams of the setting sun. There is its utility, if we dwell on the object – yet a utility that springs from our subjectivity, without doing any harm to either this subjectivity or the object. For my part, that woman is going to a rendezvous, for someone else – to a conspiracy, yet for another – simply to a tool-sharpening shop, for herself – nowhere, or to none of these places, perhaps to a funeral. The woman and the sharp object merge into a single object, the mystery-object. And if my thirst for knowledge follows her, she'll go to the darkest places, to the most windswept places where I like to run, and in the end I shall learn the truth. Then the mystery-object will become the object which is simply the same, which will give me the same satisfaction on each encounter, but for which I shall have found a meaning in accordance with my own wish. I for one am not in the mood for such deciphering, but if somebody else does everything to approach that woman, they will tell me, I have no doubt about it, things entirely different from what I would have told them, and that would be equally true. I do not have the slightest intention of saying that objective knowledge is impossible – on the contrary, what I would like to underscore is the equal force of desire in this wild race for knowledge, it is the great advantage of the mystery-object, its great power of satisfying dissatisfaction, its fertile insufficiency. As for objectivity, I only have few words to add: what we call thirst for knowledge belongs to us. All along I wanted to speak about the mystery-object.When I say mystery, I think of some deliriously barren places of Chirico's paintings, where anything may happen at any time, of Tanguy's successive horizons, of Breton's poems, of Lautréamont, of everything that can be colored with a single word: black, of everything that can be revealed by the word wonderful. It is for this mystery that I love images, no matter what images, the stirring, baffling mystery-images that change the face of the universe. I believe that the unique, imperative task of poets is nowadays the discovery, the creation, the multiplication ad infinitum, the fostering beyond all limits of this tormenting mystery.(…) Medium, 1945

by Gellu Naum (1915-2001)