Sorry, this message is not from Skias but from her friend Artemis. As Skias is nowadays lost in some Australian desert, she is quite unable to upgrade this blog so she asked me to write a post or two. Don’t worry I am sure she will be back soon (unless she is eaten by a kangaroo, I’ll let you know.)
In this first post, I’ll try to sum up the discussion that Skias and I are having about poetry for some months. I am not writing in Italian because I can read it but not speak it (maybe one day…). My native language, French, is not familiar to everyone so I choose English. I hope you will forgive my mistakes, “froggies” are not known to be gifted in foreign languages.
Skias and I are complaining for quite a long time about the Death of poetry, Italian, French, etc… We currently hesitate to classify it in the category of species in danger or in the category of fossils already lost in a museum cellar. Nevertheless, I remember something said by my teacher during an oral exam. I had to criticize a poem from Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet, famous for his epigrams. He did not respect the traditional rules of poetry, his poems are absolutely not lyrical, contrary to those of other XIXth century poets, and he deliberately choose to talk about prosaic things. I think he is one of the last great French poets with Paul Valery and Paul Eluard. (Strange thing! Verlaine first name was also Paul. Have we to be called Paul to become a French poet?)
My teacher said: “Where is poetry today? She is no more read or published. But I think there is still poetry in songs.”
Skias seemed to agree so we went in search of poetry in songs played by modern singers and bands, and this was not in vain! We wanted to compare two singers we love especially: Florence Welch and Cécile Corbel.
Florence Welch is the singer of the band Florence and the Machine. I won’t talk about this band because I am sure most of you know them. Cécile Corbel is a breton harpist and she composed the original scores for the animated movie Arrietty, a production of studio Ghibli. This two redheaded girls are not only great musicians: they also write beautiful lyrics, with much poetry! However, this two modern poetesses have very different styles.
Florence Welch sings in an epic blast, especially in breath of life, the original score she made for Snow White and the Huntsman (Florence song is to my mind the best part of the movie), but also in cosmic love or No light, no light. Her art is the one that blows us up and give the impression that the whole world can vibrate. She gives much strength to her music.
Cécile Corbel, at contrary, is all delicacy. Her light music kindly drive us to rare and refined feelings. My favorite songs are Sho’s song, from the movie Arrietty, and Mary from the album Songbook 2.
This opposition between “Strength’ and “Delicacy” remind me two well-known French poets: Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine. The first one composed very complex and powerful poems while the other one made verses of an incredibly simple beauty.
Je sais les cieux crevant en éclairs, et les trombes
et les ressacs et les courants, je sais le soir,
l’aube exaltée ainsi qu’un peuple de colombes
Et j’ai vu, quelque fois, ce que l’homme a cru voir
I know the skies, bursting in flashes and the rain-storms,
and the waves, and the draft, I know the dusk,
the stiring dawn, and also a doves crowd
and I saw, sometimes, what man believed to see.
Je devine, à travers un murmure,
Le contour subtil des voix anciennes
Et dans les lueurs musiciennes,
Amour pâle, une aurore future !
I see, throught a whisper,
the subtle shape of ancient voices
and in the musicians lights,
pale love, a future dawn!
(if someone wonder, yes I made the translation all by myself! Sorry if i didn’t made rimes, I will do better next time.)
I wonder if “strength” and “delicacy” can be found in the same piece in an equal part; I didn’t really see that in poetry, but i did in music, such as in Ebarme dich from J.S. bach.
I think I will stop this message now. I hope you had a good time reading me, and listening good music!