Thursday, November 5, 2009

Contrerime I

This is the first of Toulet's contrerimes and already one can read a subtle eroticism into the text. (If it seems a bit early to see this, I assure you that it can be less dissembled in other poems. But Toulet was never earthy or crude - wit and elegance were more his style.) It does seems a bit odd though posting this poem in November.

Avril, dont l' odeur nous augure
Le renaissant plaisir,
Tu découvres de mon désir
La secrète figure.

Ah, verse le myrte à Myrtil,
L' iris à Desdémone :
Pour moi d' une rose anémone
S' ouvre le noir pistil.

And my translation:

April, whose scents precede
A reborn pleasure,
You discern the furtive measure
Of my need.

Ah, strew the myrtle for Myrtil,
The iris for Desdémone:
For me a pink anemone
Flaunts its dark pistil.

The critic Charles Dantzig wrote of this poem in Figaro magazine, 4 October 2008, "Il n’a pas eu la chance que cette allusion sexuelle fasse scandale"
Peter Cogman, whose erudition is past the plunge of plummet, suggests that Dantzig is thinking of the scandal aroused (in those who saw a sexual allusion in it) by Baudelaire's quatrain on Manet's painting of Lola de Valence:

Entre tant de beautés que partout on peut voir,
Je contemple bien, amis, que le désir balance;
Mais on voit scintiller en Lola de Valence
Le charme inattendu d'un bijou rose et noir

Translated thus by William Aggeler:

Among such beauties as one can see everywhere
I understand, my friends, that desire hesitates;
But one sees sparkling in Lola of Valencia
The unexpected charm of a black and rose jewel.

Somewhere in Lorca there is a line: "her belly's bluish rose". Does anyone know the original in Spanish?
P.S. I found it. The poem is Preciosa y el aire and the lines are self-explanatory:

Niña, deja que levante
tu vestido para verte.
Abre en mi dedos antiguos
la rosa azul de tu vientre.

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