Le Sang
d'un Poete

jean cocteau
"the blood of a poet"


"There are many legends and superstitions surrounding mirrors. Mirrors are said to be a reflection of the soul, and they were often used in traditional witchcraft as tools for scrying or performing other spells. It is also said that mirrors cannot lie. They can show only the truth, so it is a very bad omen indeed to see something in a mirror which should not be there. Also there is a legend that a newborn child should not see a mirror until its first birthday as its soul is still developing. If the child sees its reflection it is said that it will die.

It is a common superstition that someone who breaks a mirror will receive seven years of bad luck.


The Blood of a Poet is divided into four sections.
In section one, an artist sketches a face and is startled when its mouth starts moving. He rubs out the mouth, only to discover that it has transferred to the palm of his hand. After experimenting with the hand for a while and falling asleep, the artist awakens and places the mouth over the mouth of a female statue.

In section two, the statue speaks to the artist, cajoling him into passing through a mirror. The mirror links to a hotel and the artist peers through several keyholes, witnessing such people as an opium smoker and a hermaphrodite. The artist is handed a gun and a disembodied voice instructs him how to shoot himself in the head. He shoots himself but does not die. The artist cries out that he has seen enough and returns through the mirror. He smashes the statue with a mallet.

In the third section, some students are having a snowball fight. An older boy throws a snowball at a younger boy, but the snowball turns out to be a chunk of marble. The young boy dies from the impact. In the final section, a card sharp plays a game with a woman on a table set up over the body of the dead boy. A theatre party looks on. The card sharp extracts an Ace of Hearts from the dead boy's breast pocket. The boy's guardian angel appears and absorbs the dead boy. He also removes the Ace of Hearts from the card sharp's hand and retreats up a flight of stairs and through a door. Realizing he has lost, the card sharp commits suicide as the theatre party applauds.

The woman player transforms into the formerly smashed statue and walks off through the snow, leaving no footprints.