The Young Mother by Paul Valéry

This afternoon of the sunniest season of the year, is ready to burst like a ripe orange.

The garden in the fullness of its vigour, the light, life, are slowly passing through the period of the perfection of their being. It is as though all things from the beginning had been engaged only in bringing to maturity this splendour of an instant. Happiness is visible like the sun.

The young mother, in the cheeks of the little child she is holding, breathes in her own purest substance. She presses him to her so that he shall remain always herself.

She embraces the being she has made. She forgets and rejoices at having given herself, since she has retrieved and found herself again in the tender contact of the intoxicating freshness of his flesh.

Her heedless eyes caress the leaves, the flowers, and all the splendour of the world.

She is like a Philosopher and a natural Sage who has found his idea and who has constructed what he required.

She is not sure whether the center of the universe is in her heart or in this little heart that is beating in her arms and that, in its turn, brings all things to life.

(Translated by Louise Varèse)

Work Cited
Selected Writings of Paul Valéry. (1964) New York: New Directions Publishing.