Wednesday, April 20, 2011
French Poetry IV - Aloysius Bertrand - Le gibet
The Magpie on the gallows by Pieter Bruegel (1568)
Le gibet (The Gallows)
Aloysius Bertrand (1807-1841 AD)
What do I see stirring around those gallows?
What is it – this uneasy sound in the dusk?
Is it the screech of the north wind,
or does the hanged man on the gallows let out a sigh?
Is it a cricket who sings lurking in the moss and ivy
which covers the forest floor out of pity?
Is it some fly hunting raw flesh and sounding its horn
around those ears which are deaf to the fanfare?
Is it the scarab beetle in its uneven flight
picking a blood-soaked hair from the scalp?
Or then, is it the spider who embroiders a muslin tie –
a shroud for the broken neck?
It is the bell ringing by the walls of a city below the horizon
and the carcass of a hanged man reddened by the setting sun.
(1) Gaspard de la nuit/Édition 1920/Ondine
(2) The Story Behind Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit
(3) On Wings of Song