“Mine Alone is the Country in my Soul”: A Poem by Marc Chagall

by mitchellgallery


Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Russian-French. I and the Village. 1911.

Seul est Mien
by Marc Chagall

Mine alone
Is the country in my soul
I enter there without a passport
As if it is my home.
It sees my sadness
And my solitude
It lulls me to sleep
And covers me with a heavy perfume.
In me gardens bloom.
The flowers are my creations
The streets belong to me
But there are no houses,
They were destroyed in their infancy.
The inhabitants roam the air
In search of a home;
They dwell in my soul.
For this reason I smile
When my sun barely shines
Or cry
Like a light rain
In the night.
There was a time when I had two heads.
There was a time when these two faces
Covered themselves in an amorous dew
And dissolved into the perfume of a rose.

At present it seems to me

That even when I retreat
I press on
Toward a lofty portal
Behind which stretch out walls
Where sleep faint thunder
And shattered bolts of lighting.

Mine alone

Is the country found in my soul.


Translated from the French by Sophy Schulman, A17

Image copyright: © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris