Sunday, March 30, 2008

A double-shot weekend!















Van Gogh, The Poet's Garden, October 1888.

Hey, if classic rock stations can play two Zeppelin or Floyd tracks on Saturdays and Sundays, we can certainly celebrate two birthdays chez Randal. So, friends, Romans, Frenchmen -- and Dutch -- lend me your ears.

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Enjoy the cake.

And try not to shoot anyone. Read them some verse instead.

Mon rêve familier*

Je fais souvent ce rêve étrange et pénétrant
D'une femme inconnue, et que j'aime, et qui m'aime,
Et qui n'est, chaque fois, ni tout à fait la même
Ni tout à fait une autre, et m'aime et me comprend.

Car elle me comprend, et mon coeur, transparent
Pour elle seule, hélas! cesse d'être un problème
Pour elle seule, et les moiteurs de mon front blême,
Elle seule les sait rafraîchir, en pleurant.

Est-elle brune, blonde ou rousse?—Je l'ignore.
Son nom? Je me souviens qu'il est doux et sonore,
Comme ceux des aimés que la Vie exila.

Son regard est pareil au regard des statues,
Et, pour sa voix, lointaine, et calme, et grave; elle a
L'inflexion des voix chères qui se sont tues.

*Paul Verlaine, Poèmes Saturniens

17 comments:

susan said...

My Familar Dream is a beautiful poem about longing for the unobtainable - or so I see it. My French is no longer good enough to comprehend the subtleties but it's a very lovely post.

Scarlet W. Blue said...

I remember reading L'Etrange in French in college. Since then, my mental faculties have deteriorated.

I so love Van Gogh. It's the colors. They hook me.

DCup said...

I went to get my old Verlaine poetry from school to see if I'd made any notes. Sadly, I had not. But I like the opportunity to test my translation skills.

I need to get myself to Berlitz to brush up!

Dean Wormer said...

Did you see the Family Guy bit on Van Gogh? Tasteless, yet hillarious.

TomCat said...

Unfortunately, I don't speak French, but I can find the beer and the bathroom in Spanish. :-)

Tom Harper said...

Nice Van Gogh picture.

I took French all through high school, but that was a long time ago. I barely remember a word of it now. Now that they're with us instead of the terrorists, I guess it's time to put away those freedom fries and try to relearn their language. I knew they'd come around if we put enough pressure on them.

La Belette Rouge said...

Can we throw in a Spaniard and make it a triple feature? How about Goya's " Saturn Devouring His Children" which he painted in France--where he lived in his "Deaf Man's House." France-Ears-Saturn. There is a theme, I just am not clever enough to understand it.

Swinebread said...

I love Van Gogh

Candace said...

Hey Randal, I left a present for you on mah blog. It's not in French, tho. It's in "Ahnald."

Randal Graves said...

susan, that's how I've always read it and my French is quite poor so I'm sure I've missed things over the years.

SWB, they're always quite striking, even if, as this example, not overly bright.

dcup, that's why I've kept all my previous textbooks. When the inevitable stumping arrives, the answer's in there somewhere!

dean, "You wanted children?" heh heh.

tomcat, probably the two most important stock phrases in any language. :)

tom, Sarko est notre ami ! And I hear you about the high school. I took German and remember about three phrases, that's it, none of them useful.

LBR, ah, now that's a lovely painting. Very subtle and quite full of the boundless joy inherent in all of human existence. Well, Saturn being associated with time, and this painting was done when Goya was older. A lot of the wise men where blind (Homer, Tiresias) and artists are "wise" through their senses as well. Though I guess if Van Gogh has poked his eye out, would've been a bit of a detriment to his painting. I'll stop before I begin making even less sense.

swinebread, certainly good stuff!

candace, here me now and believe me later?

pissed off patricia said...

Thanks for picking up the cake detail. I've not been feeling too good so my kitchen has been shut down for a while

Angie said...

That relationship between Verlaine and Rimbaud... Gosh, reminds me of that time years ago when I was seeing that one guy...

Violence + Beauty + Talent + Jealousy + Alcohol + Narcotics = Some Crazy Ass Poets. I learned that equation during my stint at MIT.

Randal Graves said...

With a few minor modifications (beauty for bloodthirstiness, stagnation for talent), that could be an equation for Republicans!

TomCat said...

Indeed. :-)

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Anonymous said...

Very shorts, simple and easy to understand, bet some more comments from your side would be great