My Land

It is mine alone,
this land of my most secret soul.
I enter it without a passport,
as though I were going home.
It knows my sorrow and my loneliness
It gives me rest, and hides me under a scented stone.

Gardens bloom there, in my land,
their flowers are bloomed by me.
The streets there are my own,
but no houses stand there;
they have been brought to ruins since my childhood days;
and the inhabitants go wondering in the air,
seeking a place to stay;
they also live in my land,
the land of my most secret soul.

See why then, it is that I smile,
when my sun's blaze scarcely shows,
or why I weep
like the lightest of showers in my night.

There was a time when I had two heads,
there was a time when these two faces that were mine
were bathed in a passionate dew,
and drowned there like the perfume of a rose.

Now it seems to me
that even when retreating
I journey forwards
towards a towering gateway
behind which walls stretch far away
and a pale lightening glimmers.
It is mine alone,
the land of my most secret soul.


This is the only poem I have ever read by Marc Chagall and have been unsuccessful in locating others. I stumbled across this gem in the Farmington Library meandering through the very slim art section. The book was interesting in that it was dedicated to 4 artists, one of which was Chagall and another was Picasso. All four artists were offered two pages in which they could write anything they wanted, it was their space to do with as they wish but the authors intention was to publish reflections by artists on their art. This poem above titled "My Land" was Chagall's submission. Picasso, on the other hand, rarely gave interviews and it was unheard of for him to actually speak or write about his work. Picasso was offered several opportunities to submit something for publication or, as the authors last resort, was threatened that the pages dedicated to him would remain blank. Picasso at this time was very sick and on his death bed when he finally submitted a response to the author. It was the alphabet spanning both pages written in capital letters....Ya gotta love artists!

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