À des heures et sans que tel souffle l’émeuve 

Here is a poem in which Mallarme makes some new Belgian friends in the beautiful old city of Bruges. I had to read it three times before I figured it out, but it is worth the effort, as it does evoke a certain captivating and mysterious beauty of the city while anchoring the poets’s memory of the people he meets. It is a sonnet.

Remémoration d’amis belges

À des heures et sans que tel souffle l’émeuve

Toute la vétusté presque couleur encens

Comme furtive d’elle et visible je sens

Que se dévêt pli selon pli la pierre veuve

Flotte ou semble par soi n’apporter une preuve

Sinon d’épandre pour baume antique le temps

Nous immémoriaux quelques-uns si contents

Sur la soudaineté de notre amitié neuve

O très chers rencontrés en le jamais banal

Bruges multipliant l’aube au défunt canal

Avec la promenade éparse de maint cygne

Quand solennellement cette cité m’apprit

Lesquels entre ses fils un autre vol désigne

À prompte irradier ainsi qu’aile l’esprit.

 Stéphane Mallarmé

From <http://www.toutelapoesie.com/poemes/mallarme/rememoration_d.htm>

There is a contrast between the old stones of the city and the new encounters with the Belgians the poet meets in the street. The swan on the canal taking flight at dawn shows the poet that he also can take flight and elevate his spirit, as can the inhabitants of this inspiring place.

If you can figure out the syntax and the vocabulary of this poem, it is quite moving.

The Poetry Dude

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