Sunday, December 23, 2018

Poemquotes 7

"Introduce a nice tender heart into the bedroom. / Allow to sit, and lie back sur canapé.* / Pour one drop of port / And then take your place at the piano. / Play Chopin / With disdain."
[* “Sur canapé” suggests both an armchair/settee, being wrapped in one’s arms, and taking the form of a canapé appetizer.]
-Serge Gainsbourg, "La recette de l'amour fou" [Recipe for Amour Fou], from Du chant à la une!... [Songs Torn from the Front Page!...], 1958, my translation

"Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves / Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes, / In bosom and hair. // 'Ah, do not mourn,' he said, / 'That we are tired, for other loves await us; / Hate on and love through unrepining hours. / Before us lies eternity; our souls / Are love, and a continual farewell.'"
-W. B. Yeats, "Ephemera", from Crossways, 1889

"The water-swells, rolling the images of the skies, / Mingled in a solemn and mystical fashion / The all-powerful chords of their rich music / With the colors of the sunset reflected by my eyes."
-Charles Baudelaire, "La vie antérieure" [The Previous Life], from Les fleurs du mal [The Flowers of Evil], "Spleen et Idéal" [Spleen and Ideal], 1857, my translation

"I grow old ... I grow old ... / I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. // Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? / I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. / I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. // I do not think that they will sing to me. // I have seen them riding seaward on the waves / Combing the white hair of the waves blown back / When the wind blows the water white and black. // We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
-T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", from Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917

"I raise the present on the past, / (As some perennial tree out of its roots, the present on the past,)"
-Walt Whitman, "For Him I Sing", from Leaves of Grass, "Inscriptions", 1855-1892

"Everything is inert and too large for his eyes and his heart. His head has to stay empty, and nothing could fill it. / When he finally returned there where he started from, he thought only of the little corner of earth where his life contained, where he would have, just room enough to die."
-Pierre Reverdy, "Voyages trop grands" [Trips Too Long], from Poèmes en prose [Poems in Prose], 1915, my translation

"One must have a mind of winter / To regard the frost and the boughs / Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; // And have been cold a long time / To behold the junipers shagged with ice, / The spruces rough in the distant glitter // Of the January sun"
-Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man", from Harmonium, 1923/1931


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