Friday, December 14, 2018

Poemquotes 6

"I'm the ticketpuncher at les Lilas. / For Invalides change at Opéra. / I live in the heart of the planet. / I've got / A confetti-carnival inside my head. / I bring it back up to my bed / And beneath my ceramic sky / I only see the connections twinkling."
-Serge Gainsbourg, "Le poinçonneur des Lilas" [The Ticketpuncher at les Lilas], from Du chant à la une!... [Songs Torn from the Front Page!...], 1958, my translation

"Autumn is over the long leaves that love us, / And over the mice in the barley sheaves; / Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us, / And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves."
-W. B. Yeats, "The Falling of the Leaves", from Crossways, 1889

"Far from the famous sepulchres, / Towards an isolated cemetery, / My heart, like a veiled drum, / Goes beating out funeral marches."
-Charles Baudelaire, "Le guignon" [The Jinx], from Les fleurs du mal [The Flowers of Evil], "Spleen et Idéal" [Spleen and Ideal], 1857, my translation

"But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: / Would it have been worth while / If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, / And turning toward the window, should say: / 'That is not it at all, / That is not what I meant, at all.'"
-T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", from Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917

"But the table and the lamp are here awaiting me, and everything else has died of rage beneath the door."
-Pierre Reverdy, "Des êtres vagues" [Vague Beings], from Poèmes en prose [Poems in Prose], 1915, my translation

"Was it a cry against the twilight / Or against the leaves themselves / Turning in the wind, / Turning as the flames / Turned in the fire, / Turning as the tails of the peacocks // Turned in the loud fire, / Loud as the hemlocks / Full of the cry of the peacocks? / Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?"
-Wallace Stevens, "Domination of Black", from Harmonium, 1923/1931

"The old, old urge, / Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles, / From science and the modern still impell'd, / The old, old urge, eidólons."
-Walt Whitman, "Eidólons", from Leaves of Grass, "Inscriptions", 1855-1892


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