Monday, January 10, 2011

"Let your line be finest adventure" - Paul Verlaine, Poetic Art

Poetic Art

(Jadis et Naguère: Art Poétique)

For Charles Morice

Music above everything,
The Imbalanced preferred
Vaguer more soluble in air
Nothing weighty, fixed therein.

And don’t go choosing your words
Without some confusion of vision:
Nothing’s dearer than shadowy verse
Where Precision weds Indecision.

It’s beautiful eyes concealed by veils,
It’s a broad day quivering at noon,
It’s the blue disorder of bright stars
In autumn skies, cool, with no moon!

For we always desire Nuance,
Not Colour, nuance evermore!
Oh, nuance alone can wed
Dream with dream, flute with horn!

From murderous Epigrams flee,
Cruel Wit and laughter impure
That brings tears to the high Azure,
And all that base garlic cuisine!

Take eloquence, wring its neck!
You’d do well, while you’re in flow,
To make Rhyme a fraction wiser.
If we don’t look out, where will it go?

Oh who’ll tell of the wrongs of Rhyme?
What mad Negro, or tone-deaf child,
Created this penny jewel, this crime,
That rings hollow, false under the file?

Music once more and forever!
Let your line be a thing so light,
It feels like a soul that soars in flight
To new skies and fresh lovers.

Let your line be finest adventure
Afloat on the tense dawn wind
That goes wakening thyme and mint…
All the rest – is literature.

Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)

A Forgotten Hero of Symbolism: Charles Morice (1861-1919)

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