He was hurled to the ground by the same unjust blows that hurtled him far ahead in his life, toward future years when one person alone could no longer make him bleed. Like the small shrub that draws succor from roots, clasping bruised branches against its resolute core, he backed away mute into what he knew and into his innocence. Finally freed and filled with sovereign joy, he fled to the meadow and reached the wall of reeds whose dry trembling he watched and whose mud he cajoled. What was noblest and most enduring on earth seemed to adopt him, as if to make amends.

And so it would start again. He knew one day he would hold his ground, attentive and standing tall among men—more at risk, more resistant.

The Slapped Adolescent, René Char