Saturday, May 31, 2014

Slanting lines and raindrops: thinking of Apollinaire on a rainy day in Melbourne

It is Sunday, the first day of June, and raining heavily in Melbourne. We're into late Autumn now. In our toasty bedroom, I'm enjoying the aroma of roasted coffee, lingering in the air that little bit longer thanks to the radiator. We haven't had a downpour like this in some time (yesterday was surprisingly warm and sunny). The mingling sounds of the clothes dryer in the next room and the rivulets trickling on the windowpane are perfect accompaniments to a lazy morning. I'm thinking about the slanted lines of Guillaume Apollinaire's concrete poem, 'Il Pleut' (published in 1918) where form and meaning are in glorious harmony:

Now here is Roger Shattuck's linear translation:

It’s Raining

It’s raining women’s voices as if they had died even in memory
And it’s raining you as well marvellous encounters of my life O little
Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music

Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below

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