The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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La Jolie Rousse

Guillaume Apollinaire, “La Jolie Rousse [The Pretty Redhead]”:

Here I am before you all a sensible man

Who knows life and what a living man can know of death

Having experienced love’s sorrows and joys

Having sometimes known how to impose my ideas

Adept at several languages

Having traveled quite a bit

Having seen war in the Artillery and the Infantry

Wounded in the head trepanned under chloroform

Having lost my best friends in the frightful conflict

I know of old and new as much as one man can know of the two

And without worrying today about that war

Between us and for us my friends

I am here to judge the long debate between tradition and invention

Between Order and Adventure

You whose mouth is made in the image of God’s

Mouth that is order itself

Be indulgent when you compare us

To those who were the perfection of order

We who look for adventure everywhere

We’re not your enemies

We want to give you vast and strange domains

Where mystery in flower spreads out for those who would pluck it

There you may find new fires colors you have never seen before

A thousand imponderable phantasms

Still awaiting reality

We want to explore kindness enormous country where all is still

There is also time which can be banished or recalled

Pity us who fight always at the boundaries

Of infinity and the future

Pity our errors pity our sins

Henri Rousseau, "La Muse inspirant le po

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Pamela says…

Where did you find this beautiful translation?

How silly of me to forget! The translation is by Ann Hyde Greet, from the marvelous bilingual Univ. of California edition of Calligrammes. (I think the 1st ed. is 1980, but don’t quote me.) I’m reading and rereading it now — almost the whole book every day for the past four-five days.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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