Francis Ponge's Soap delights in the diminishing but cleansing “intellectual toilet” of a piece of soap, its redrafted returns: “Magic stone! The more it forms, with air and water, clusters of scented grapes, explosive. Water, air and soap overlap, then, play leapfrog, form bombastic and slight combinations which a breath, a smile, the least interior vanity, the slightest exaggeration cause to explode…” In subject and style, this is a doubly bubbly prose. The question of soapy “aerostatic pretension” is later addressed directly: saturated with soap, the water exalts in bubbles, it communicates, not in a systematic desire for speech but rather a “facility or faculty of elocution.” The slightest movement will set off a new succession, bubble against other bubbles, new border works – as Ponge finds over his two decades working on Soap, even though the soap itself sometimes got lost in the basin & also the bath - it slipped away & was not seen again until the water was drained and the soap dry again. The poet reflects: “Our most successful bubbles, our only successful ones are doubtless those that are the least worked. For can one work on a bubble?” And so the ridiculous subject froths, soap’s "dry tongue" gets loquacious, living beneath the pump where we get the hiccups. “It is presence of mind that’s required, at the moment of expiration… (of breathation).”

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