Saying “Demain, dès l’aube…” by Victor Hugo

“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.

Boating accident

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

Victor Hugo

Taking part in VRRRR Festival 2017

VRRRR Festival 2017

I am one of the eleven artists chosen to take part in the VRRRR Festival 2017. The festival takes place in Toulon in the south of France.

Non stop drawing

For three days the Musée d’art de Toulon will have non stop drawing, music and performance. I’m on my way down there now and really looking forward to taking part. This year is special because it is going to be a retrospective of all of the previous artists. It is also going to be the last edition of the festival for a while, because they are going to renovate the musée d’art de Toulon.

I don’t really know what I am going to do but that is part of the festival !

Berlin – Toulon

Last week I went to Berlin for the first time in my life (late developer). It was an excellent holiday and really good preparation for this festival. Berlin was like a huge open air art school. There is definitely a spirit of experimentation. Art is everywhere, and some of it is so beautiful. Overall it doesn’t matter because there is a lot of space.

I didn’t have any particular ideas when I went there. Travelling is always so fascinating. You are so open and such great things happen.

Image Nation

So here I am travelling again. And for the next three days I’ll be travelling in my imagination. Image Nation.

Exhibiting in Toulon

I will post to my website everyday during the festival and for more informal, off the cuff stuff, you can see my instagram feed or my facebook page.

All the pieces I create during the festival will be exhibited from the 10th until 25th November 2017 in the musée d’art de Toulon. All the pieces will be for sale in Toulon and there are lots of other fabulous artists who will be there so if you are around, come on over. Its free entry, open to all.

Poetry

I managed to learn (more or less) Song of Childhood by Peter Handke last weekend in Berlin. I will do my best to learn a poem for this weekend but I’m sure you’ll all be very understanding if I don’t manage to do it…

Dream State

Now I am going to rest and hopefully enter into a dream state…

Saying “My Story”

Saying “My Story”, this is an Irish poem from the 7th-13th century. The author is unknown. This is translated by Brendan Kennelly. From the Penguin Book of Irish Verse.

A simple poem, but you can feel the winter “snarling” in these simple lines. It’s not very cold in Paris yet, but winter is coming. What’s more, our heating is broken down. Tomorrow we’ll get it repaired.

The thought of saying words, even a translation, that date from more than a thousand years ago; strange to think these fragments of a civilisation from so long ago. Fragments that come to us over the ages, here is it the story of the land? Whose story is it?

I am learning all of these poems and thinking of the desires and wishes that the poems contain. The time that these poems cross to come down to us. How something so fragile can cross time is a marvel… Can we leave things for others to find? Can we cross to others through time? Messages that cross through time and space…

The photo on this page is of the Gallarus Oratory, one of the earliest Christian buildings in Ireland, dating from 6th – 7th century. It is in Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula.

My Story

Here’s my story; the stag cries

Winter snarls as summer dies.

 

The wind bullies the low sun

in poor light; the seas moan.

 

Shapeless bracken is turning red,

The wildgoose raises its desperate head.

 

Birds’ wings freeze where fields are hoary.

The world is ice. That’s my story.

 

Anonymous from the 7th-13th century. Translated by Brendan Kennelly. From the Penguin Book of Irish Verse.