Ombre (1916)
from Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War (1913-1916)

Vous voilà de nouveau près de moi
Souvenirs de mes compagnons morts à la guerre
L'olive du temps
Souvenirs qui n'en faites plus qu'un
Comme cent fourrures ne font qu'un manteau
Comme ces milliers de blessures ne font qu'un article de journal
Apparence impalpable et sombre qui avez pris
La forme changeante de mon ombre
Un Indien à l'affût pendant l'éternité
Ombre vous rampez près de moi
Mais vous ne m'entendez plus
Vous ne connaîtrez plus les poèmes divins que je chante
Tandis que moi je vous entends je vous vois encore
Ombre multiple que le soleil vous garde
Vous qui m'aimez assez pour ne jamais me quitter
Et qui dansez au soleil sans faire de poussière
Ombre encre du soleil
Ecriture de ma lumière
Caisson de regrets
Un dieu qui s'humilie


Umbra, from Apollinaire
Charles Bernstein

You there anew close to me
Souvenirs of my companions dead at the war
Olive of time
Souvenirs which make no more than one
Like a hundred furs make not than one coat
Like these thousand wounds make not than one article in the journal
Appearance impalpable and somber who have comprised
The form changing of my umbra
An Indian at the lookout during eternity
Umbra you crawl close to me
But you attend me no more
You will know no more the poems divine that I chant
Whereas me I attend you I see you once more
Umbra multiple that the sun guards you
You who love me enough in order never to quit me
And who dance at the sun without making dust
Umbra ink of the sun
Text of my light
Caisson of regret
A god who humiliates himself

(from "A Person Is Not An Entity Symbolic but the Divine Incarnate" in The Sophist)


Shadow (1916)
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

Here you are near me once more
Memories of my comrades in battle
Olive of time
Memories composing now a single memory
As a hundred furs make only one coat
As those thousands of wounds make only one newspaper article
Impalpable dark appearance you have assumed
The changing form of my shadow
An Indian hiding in wait throughout eternity
Shadow you creep near me
But you no longer hear me
You will no longer know the divine poems I sing
But I hear you I see you still
Multiple shadow may the sun watch over you
You who love me so much you will never leave me
You who dance in the sun without stirring the dust
Shadow solar ink
Handwriting of my light
Caisson of regrets
A god humbling himself

from The Legacy Project
as a poem of World War 1

Credit: Excerpted from "Shadow" in Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War (1913-1916) by Guillaume Apollinaire. Translated and edited by Anne Greet. Copyright © 1980 by The Regents of the University of California.

Biography: Guillaume Apollinaire was born in 1880 in Rome and raised in the gambling halls of Monaco, Paris, and the French Riviera, son of a Polish noblewoman and an Italian officer. He received a French education at the Collège Saint-Charles in Monaco, and afterwards in schools in Cannes and Nice. During his education in Cannes, Nice, and Monaco, he assumed the identity of a Russian prince. At the age of 20, Apollinaire settled in Paris where he worked for a time for a bank. Among his friends were such artists as Pablo Picasso, André Derain, playwright Alfred Jarry, and the painter Marie Laurencin, who was his lover. In Paris, Apollinaire established himself as a leading avant-garde poet and defender of progressive art. Guillaume Apollinaire is credited with having coined the term “surrealism.” Having become a French citizen in order to enlist for service in World War I, Apollinaire was seriuosly wounded in March 1916. Guillaume Apollinaire died in the influenza epidemic of 1918.


Alcools: Poems, Tr. Donald Revell, Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1995.

The Poet Assassinated and Other Stories, San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984.

Calligrams, Tr. Anne Hyde Greet, Santa Barbara: Unicorn Press, 1970.

The Cubist Painters: Aesthetic Meditiations, 1913, Tr. Lionel Abel, New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, 1970.

Selected Writings, Tr. Roger Shattuck, New Directions, 1950.