1 abr. 2008

I've been fascinated for a while by the poem "Queslques-uns des mots qui, jusqu'ici, m'étaient mystérieusement interdits" by Paul Eluard.

It starts out like this:

Le mot cimetière
Aux autres de rêver d'un cimetière ardent
Le mot maisonnette
On le trouve souvent
Dans les annonces des journaux dans les chansons
Il a des rides c'est un vieillard travesti
Il a un dé au doigt c'est un perroquet mûr

Basically, a series of definitions and associations triggered by particular words. The poem is itself linguistically dense. It's not even that I love this particular poem, I just like the device and the conceit on which it's based. The poet realizes he hasn't used certain words, and rushes in to fill the gap. "dans le gran souci / de tout dire." "Some of the Words which, until now, have been mysteriously forbidden Me." It comes at the end of his surrealist association, in 1937. It's dedicated to Breton, but might be seen almost as a farewell to surrealism.

I don't have a reliable translation of it. I'm going to try to give you one soon. I almost prefer not understanding every word, though. I don't get the syntax of the second line.

"The word cemetery
to the others dreaming of a burning cemetery [Let others dream of burning cemetery]
The word maisonnette
you find it in newspaper ads in songs
he is wrinkled, it's an old transvestite
he has a die on his finger, it's an aged parrot..."

3 comentarios:

Bronwen dijo...

The second line is something like "it's up to others" or "it falls to others to dream of a burning cemetery."

Jonathan dijo...

That makes sense. I'll change the translation.

Jordan dijo...

Kenneth Koch was very fond of it, and not only for the spectacular typography.