The Poets

March 30, 2012

Verlaine, the Symbolist

Of the French symbolists, Paul Verlaine (1844 – 1896) is probably one of my least most studied and read of the poets … but what I have read, what I have studied and learned about him, is utterly inspiring- at times darkly inspiring. His poetry almost lends a sort of ‘blueprint’ on how a poet becomes poetic. He inspires on a practical level.

His poetry, like
Baudelaire's who influenced him, takes on some of the most unnoticed aspects of common human experience and makes them poetically eloquent, endowing them with a sort of sacred superiority unseen by the blind masses.

Of the little I know about this poet and his turbulent existence, what I appreciate about him the most is that he has the poet’s eye: the thorough inability to see anything in reality superficially.

Here an example of Verlaine’s work (translated from French by
Louis Simpson) …

The Young Fools (Les Ingénus)

High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress
So that, between the wind and the terrain,
At times a shining stocking would be seen,
And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.

Also, at times a jealous insect's dart
Bothered out beauties. Suddenly a white
Nape flashed beneath the branches, and this sight
Was a delicate feast for a young fool's heart.

Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,
The women who hung dreaming on our arms
Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms
That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.

1 comment:

Crack You Whip said...

This is beautiful. You have great taste in poetry.

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