Nostradamus, tr. and intro. Richard Sieburth
READ ALL ABOUT IT: Prophesy –– astrology –– verse –– clairvoyance –– sophism –– eschatology –– apocalypticism –– magic –– obscurity –– divination –– enigma ––opacity –– mysticism –– grotesqueries –– the mother of all ambiguity –– vatic –– visionary –– violent. The avant-garde occult classic The Prophesies of Nostradamus has found its ideal translator in Richard Sieburth and Sieburth and Stéphane Gerson have provided superb introductions and notes. Nostradamus, the vicar of implausible audibles, has created an epic cut-up poem, in William Burroughs’s sense. As Sieburth puts it, this is a “bleakly Nietzschean (or, more precisely, Benjaminian) vision of the Eternal Return of the Same.” Prophesies is riddled with riot, predicting a panoply of possible futures while all the time registering the trauma of its historical moment and, against all odds, our own.
When whirlwind turns the litter upside down,
And faces are covered over by cloaks :
The republic shall be vexed by new folk,
The whites & reds judging the wrong way round.
Before the assault an exhortation :
Kite seized by Eagle, ambushed by surprise :
Ancient wall crumbling under cannon fi re :
Little mercy shown : total devastation.
The young prince spouting false accusations,
Throws the camp into chaos & dissension :
Struck in head by a stanchion : then grows calm
And on scrofula lays a healing balm.
The ancient work shall be fulfilled in time :
The roof shall come crashing down on the lord :
An innocent blamed for the mortal crime,
The culprit hiding in the misty grove.