Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Un sonetto francese

Le jour était morne à travers le crachin gris
Où s'enfonçaient les cimes des chênes, où toutes
Les feuilles tombantes abandonnaient leurs voûtes
De gothique rayonnante--j'en fus épris,
Car mon âme aussi tombait, une douce pluie
L’accompagnant dans la chute du désespoir.
Mon esprit, s'égarant, entra dans un bois noir.
--De cette douleur, me dis-je, que je m'enfuie.

Mais je fus saisi d'un inexprimable peur
De ne jamais revoir le soleil ni les astres,
Qui serait peut-être le pire des désastres.
Je me tournai donc et, en rehaussant le cœur,
Je descendis d'un mont, j'émergeai de ce bois,
Je vis de la lumière, et je pensai à toi.

26 février 1968

Oui, mes amis.  I know this is drama as only the young can do drama.  We speak of purple prose and this is, well, indigo verse or something, lol.  But the structure is fairly solid, the style literary, and after all these years I remain pretty proud of it.  I will try a translation into English.

The day was gloomy through the gray mist
Where the tops of oaks were thrust, where all
The falling leaves were abandoning their high
Gothic vaults--I was struck by it,
For my soul was also falling, accompanied
By a light rain in the descent into despair.
My soul, straying, entered a dark wood.
I said to myself, "Let me flee this sadness."

But I was seized by an inexpressible fear
Of never again seeing the sun or the stars,
Which would be the worst disaster.
So I turned and, lifting up my heart,
I descended the mount, emerged from the wood,
Saw the light, and thought of you.

I told you it was drama.  Indeed, high overstatement.  Though line 8 speaks of fleeing despair through implied suicide, suicide has never been a temptation for me.

Ah, sweet retrospect.

I have commented that I could not have written Darkslayer in my youth.  I needed to experience depression and the re-emergence into light in order to write that tale.  The depth of actually living this was necessary and so the opening volume of The Chronicles of Mídhris was begun in 2006.  Yet the theme lies here, just months before I graduated from college and several years prior to the germ of the Chronicles.  As I reread this poem I can see the thread clearly.  The conflict between light and darkness is so universal that there is nothing surprising here, yet the clarity of an abiding theme in my writing does grab one's attention.

By the way, I am pretty sure there was a conscious nod to Dante in the dark wood.

Just thought I would share this.  Yes, I have written sonnets over the years. I believe my first was to Miss KJK.  There was an entire cycle dedicated to my first French teacher.  Many scattered through my journals.  Some in the last twelve years.  It is a form I enjoy.  I hope there are enough francophones to enjoy this one.

--the BB

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