Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Paul Verlaine

Verlaine liked boys but also wrote about girls.


Pensionnaires by Paul Verlaine


The one was fifteen years old, the other sixteen
And they both slept in the same little room.
It happened on an oppressive September eve--
Fragile things! blue-eyed with cheeks of ivory.

To cool their frail bodies each removed
Her dainty chemise fresh with the perfume of amber.
The younger raised her hands and bent backwards,
And her sister, her hands on her breasts, kissed her.

Then fell on her knees, and, in a frenzy,
Grasped her limbs to her cheek, and her mouth
Caressed the blonde gold within the grey shadows:

And during all that time the younger counted
On her darling fingers the promised waltzes,
And, blushing, smiled innocently.

- translated by Francois Pirous

More Verlaine poems at: http://www.geocities.com/bjrents/paul.html


A verse from A La Promenade (1870) by Paul Verlaine


The milky sky, the hazy, slender trees,
Seem smiling on the light costumes we wear,—
Our gauzy floating veils that have an air
Of wings, our satins fluttering in the breeze...


Verlaine's Les Amies (1868), described lesbian love: the couplings of adolescent girls.

According to Gretchen Schultz at

In darkly warm, perfumed and languorous settings, naive and delicious young creatures speak of and make love, wearing thin robes of cotton and surrounded by muslin drapes.


Verlaine married Mathilde Mauté but became the lover of a youthful Arthur Rimbaud.

Verlaine fell out with Rimbaud.

In 1878, Verlaine fell in love with a young student, Lucien Létinois.

Letinois died of typhoid.

In 1883, Verlaine moved to the countryside where he was involved in the seductions of farm boys and boys brought in from Paris.

Verlaine died in 1896, at the home of a prostitute.


"In Verlaine's works two impressions predominate: that only self is important, and that the function of poetry is to preserve moments of extreme sensation and unique impressions."



Clair De Lune

Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair,
Peopled with maskers delicate and dim,
That play on lutes and dance and have an air
Of being sad in their fantastic trim.

The while they celebrate in minor strain
Triumphant love, effective enterprise,
They have an air of knowing all is vain,—
And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,

The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white stone
The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.





Voici des fruits, des fleurs, des feuilles et des branches
Et puis voici mon coeur, qui ne bat que pour vous,
Ne le déchirez pas avec vos deux mains blanches,
Et qu'à vos yeux si beaux l'humble présent soit doux.
J'arrive tout couvert encore de rosée
Que le vent du matin vient glacer à mon front.
Souffrez que ma fatique, à vos pieds reposée,
Réve des chers instants qui la délasseront.
Sur votre jeune sein laissez rouler ma tête
Toute sonore encor de vos derniers baisers;
Laissez-la s'apaiser de la bonne tempête,
Et que je dorme un peu puisque vous reposez.


No comments: