“Demain, dès l’aube…”
This week I am saying a famous poem by the French poet Victor Hugo.
Learn poems every week
My children learn poems nearly every week in their school (this is what they do in France) and I heard this poem and fell in love with it. There are other great poems too that they have learnt and I will share them soon too.
A nightmare for any parent: this poem was written by Hugo for his daughter Leopoldine, who had drowned with her husband in a boating accident. She was 19 years old at the time of her death. The accident happened four years before the poem was written.
You know that this poem is a love poem, but it is not until the second last line that you learn that the object of the poet’s love is dead. It is beautifully put together and controlled and with beautiful sonorities. It sounds very conversational in the first part of the poem. It rolls off the tongue with the simple rhyming scheme but if you look at it you can see that Hugo has cut sentences up and the rhymes happen within them.
A master at work…
Hugo is a powerful lyrical poet. He was so well known in his day that his writing affected the politics of his country. He also drew a huge amount during his life. He is a little like a more contemporary version of William Blake…
PS: I’m very busy at the moment so that is why I have not put up as many poems as the other weeks. Now it will soon be the holiday season so I will have time to learn some more poems.
Have a good Christmas!
Demain, dès l’aube…
Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.
Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.
Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.
3 septembre 1847