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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ma Bohème recited by Bachouma

I will soon try to post some verses of Villon: distanced by hundreds of years, Villon and Rimbaud were (each in his own way) totally free spirits: free from the hypocrisy of morale, free from the hypocrisy of language. As for this poem of Rimbaud, I found on youTube a great rendering by Bachouma. Just enjoy!

Je m’en allais, les poings dans mes poches crevées ;
Mon paletot aussi devenait idéal ;
J’allais sous le ciel, Muse ! et j’étais ton féal ;
Oh ! là là ! que d’amours splendides j’ai rêvées !
Mon unique culotte avait un large trou.
- Petit-Poucet rêveur, j’égrenais dans ma course
Des rimes. Mon auberge était à la Grande Ourse.
- Mes étoiles au ciel avaient un doux frou-frou

Et je les écoutais, assis au bord des routes,
Ces bons soirs de septembre où je sentais des gouttes
De rosée à mon front, comme un vin de vigueur ;

Où, rimant au milieu des ombres fantastiques,
Comme des lyres, je tirais les élastiques
De mes souliers blessés, un pied près de mon coeur !

par Bachouma ; Terre, France, Paris, Bibliothèque Publique d'Information
(video by VizantOr)

The English rendering of Oliver Bernard (1962):

My Bohemian Life

I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets;
My overcoat too was becoming ideal;
I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
Oh dear me! what marvellous loves I dreamed of!

My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.

And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;

And while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows,
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!


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  • Villon helped me to survive the army time, when I was doing guard from 2 to 6 am. I had the small Villon book (the Neculai chirica translation) on my heart, all the time... Din deznadejde dam nadejdii hrana... DAnu

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 PM  

  • I have similar memories from the military. It was 1968, Russians were in Prague and we were on the brink of war with our neighbor from the East. It didn't happen; however several times it had been damn serious. I was reading Camus (L'Etranger), Malraux (La Condition Humaine), Kafka (Der Prozeß), in excellent Romanian translations.

    By the way, as you know, Villon was translated in Romanian also by Romulus Vulpescu. It happened that one day I met him by chance, in a winery. I looked at him and got enthusiastic, are you Romulus Vulpescu? I'm so glad to see you; I love your rendering of Villon! He smiled, then I left and only after that I realized that he was also by now in the Senate, following a political line that I was strongly disapproving. But, by the time I saw him, only Villon had come in my mind.

    By Blogger Pierre Radulescu, at 1:48 AM  

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