Monday, December 6, 2010

Contrerime XIX

This poem is subtitled Rêves d' enfant.

Circé des bois et d' un rivage
Qu' il me semblait revoir,
Dont je me rappelle d' avoir
Bu l' ombre et le breuvage ;

Les tambours du Morne Maudit
Battant sous les étoiles
Et la flamme où pendaient nos toiles
D' un éternel midi ;

Rêves d' enfant, voix de la neige,
Et vous, murs où la nuit
Tournait avec mon jeune ennui...
Collège, noir manège.

Circé of shore and glade,
I seem to see again,
With whom I thought to drain
The potion and the shade;

The drums of Maudit Hill
Beating under the moon
In the heat of an eternal noon
Our sails hang, still;

A child’s dreams, the snow’s spell,
Walls where the nights’ decrees
Nurtured my green unease…
School, bleak carousel.

I am indebted to Peter Cogman for the following comment:
"I think it's an interpolation in 'la flamme d'un éternel midi' (in turn for 'un éternel midi flamboyant' - PJT liked nominal turns) in which the sails of a boat he's on are hanging down because there is no wind. Elliptical and brief; but you end up with two lines night, with both sounds and stars, and two lines midday, with light, heat and no wind, and an implicit sea in both. I hadn't thought about int much before, but the more you look, the more there is (typical PJT!)."

Steinmetz notes: Nos toiles : les « voiles » sont devenues « toiles » car il n’y a pas de vent.

And of course Collège, noir manège is an allusion to the various establishments from which a fractious Toulet was sent down.

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