Sunday, April 28, 2013

French Symbolist Poetry

It's still National Poetry Month and Jim and I are planning a trip to Paris, so it seems appropriate to find an example of French poetry to post. I came across this piece on a website which had it labeled as symbolist poetry. Not sure if this is correct or not, but since I've been reading and posting about symbolism I figured that makes three connections! Plus, I love the vibe of this poem. The translation is by Alex Gross.

Dommange's poem was apparently set to jazz music at some point. Not sure if that was contemporary with the piece or later.

Jazz In The Night

The dance, on the flaming park casts its multi-
colored flowers, the trees are singed,
irradiated, and the sonorous roaring of
crazed and homesick blacks

Nervous tangos, harsh brass, choke the soft
rustling of satin that paws the grass.

What exhausted smiles, by the shadow
of complicit copses, beneath the
surprise of kisses
consent and swoon. a saxophone
weeping long and very tender
plaints, sooths with its breathless
rhythm the excitement of furtive

Passer-by, pick up this handkerchief, fallen
from a warm bosom this evening,
hidden under the ivy.

Two red lips signed it in the make-up
of their cool design, delivering up
its secrets for you , the perfume of
a naked throat and the mouth of
an unknown woman.
- Rene Dommange (1928)

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