My mother passed away. That is the order of things. Her slow agony, supported by medical care, followed by her cremation, have upset and revolted me. More than ever, we are left without imagination when faced with death. Our societies, solely worried about the actual dying, no longer wish to create an image of death. Whereas poets have shown themselves audacious explorers – the English in particular, with Shakespeare and Donne – and the paintings of Giotto or Van Eyck promise a peaceful hereafter, contemporary artists cover themselves in silence. This refusal to imagine death is legitimised by philosophy: Heidegger transforms the horizon of death into the absolute origin. Hence this fundamental nihilist feeling that overpowers the Earth today. Here we are, having become our own terrorists.
This book, dealing with our difficulty to face death in everyday life, refrains from grandiloquence and affected pathos.
Its author is a poet who shares not only his personal experience with us, but also his familiarity with the great poetical and philosophical texts on death, of which he renders us the essential, using a clear language.
Jacques Darras has published a long poem in several cantos, of which the last one has recently been published by Gallimard: Tout à coup je ne suis plus seul. Translator of Whitman, Pound, Lowry, he is preparing an edition on Coleridge for Poésie/Gallimard. He is the author of Nous sommes tous des romantiques allemands (Calmann-Lévy).