mardi 13 juillet 2010

Waxing poetic

                                               In another life, I lived on the island of Montreal  and I had sent this to some kind of a contest.  I did not win.                                                      

                                                                                                      Ma Ville

Place Royale, 

Westmount Square, 
Rue de la Capitale.Trafalgar Square!

Mademoiselle des Pins avait une rue 

Que Pine avenue on désigne; 
Monseigneur Mountain avait une rue ...De la Montagne on la consigne!

Du bilinguisme victimes, 

Soustraits à notre estime.

Fourmilières du Centre-Ville, 

Ermitages du Mont-Royal, 
Tire-bouchons de ma ville

Antiquités de la rue de l'hôpital.

Belle, chapeautée de montagne, 

Ceinturée de fleuves,Des adolescents elle a la hargne et, parfois, la timidité des vies neuves.

Douée de tous les vices, dotée de toutes les vertus, 

L'église et le presbytère voisinent le cabaret et ses danseuses nues 
Quartiers riches, quartiers pauvres, quartiers ouvriers, 
Parterres et bitume,

Mais partout, diminuant l'amertume 

La verdure de l'orme ou des peupliers.

Masures, châteaux, gratte-ciel, 

Fumées, miasmes, croix dans le ciel, 
Montréal, ma ville, mon home, 
Demeure une terre des hommes.

Paul Costopoulos
Mai 1970

16 commentaires:

  1. You have here some excellent phrases and unusual imagery. It's a winner to me! (Thanks to the translation widget I could enjoy it.)

  2. Glad you could enjoy it. It was a brief moment of levity in an otherwise tense political climate. The October crisis was on it's way, we had had a few bombs and people neede to escape somehow. I guess the contest was just such an occasion.

  3. I am afraid to say what Babelfish did to this; I can still read prose in French (so long as I have enough time to focus) but I need a crib for poetry. I am groping here: are the "vies neuves" connected to the activities of the teenagers, bad-tempered or otherwise? :)

    You make Montreal sound far more beautiful than any city where I have ever lived, alas.

  4. Je me souviens, even if I didn't live in Montréal. It was a difficult time, a sad time.

  5. @Sledpress: "Vies neuves" new lifes refers indeed to our young people, 97% of them are wonderful and make us proud still today. I guess "tire-bouchon" would have been translated as "corkscrew", as a matter of fact it refers to an architectural Montreal characteristic: exterior stairs in front of houses leading to the second or even third floors. Some are really beautifull.
    @Rob-bear: yes it was sad and the only time I have seriously thought of leaving the province. Obviously I did not.

  6. I loved this poem! Reminds me a bit of Archibald MacLeish with his imagism more important that the meaning. Even with the translator, I see your images.

    I especially like "corkscrews my city" and "anthills of downtown"

    Have you read any Billy Collins? My favorite modern poet.

  7. Oops. I meant "than the meaning...

  8. "Tire-bouchons de ma ville", «my city's corkscrews» as I have explained to Rosaria refers to a style of stairs built outside houses between the sidewalk and the facade over a usualy grassy space or flower beds.
    I have not read the authors you state but I'm flattered nonetheless, Thank you.

  9. Un hymne à la Montréal de vos jeunes années.

    La crise des otages de Octobre 1970 a été une période traumatisante d'ailleurs pour Montréal.

    Puis il y a eu 1976, l'année du référendum pour la souveraineté-association. Dans la crainte, de nombreuses grandes entreprises déménagé leur siège social de Montréal à Toronto.

    C'était très triste.

    Sans Montréal et de sa culture et son histoire, le Canada devrait être diminuée de manière irrévocable.

  10. !976: les Jeux Olympiques.
    1980: le 1er référendum.
    1995: le 2ième référendum.
    But you are right, le Canada sans Montréal ne serait pas le même.

  11. !976: les Jeux Olympiques.
    1980: le 1er référendum.
    1995: le 2ième référendum.

    Vous avez raison. Je devrais avoir consulté Google avant d'écrire mon commentaire.

    Ces dates étaient trop récentes pour moi de les mémoriser correctement. Je suis à l'âge que je me souviens le mieux les choses qui s'est passé il y a longtemps. Mais mon souvenir de choses qui s'est passé récemment, eh bien, vous avez vu un exemple.

    Par exemple, je me souviens très bien le phénomène de la "Trudeaumania" en 1968. Mais, si Trudeamania avait été en 1988 au lieu de 1968, ma souvenir de cette serait aussi vague que mes souvenirs des événements de 1976, 1980 et 1995.

  12. Trudeaumania was a cross Canada happening. The three others had less of an impact and out West most people could not care less. Even though Québec can be felt as a costly nuisance by the Albertans.

  13. Phil sets the bar so high by commenting in French. Damn!

    Despite the Hannibal Blog's admonition to compete, I will refrain from torturing you with my school-girl French and stick with cozy English. However, Monsieur Liepins (my Latvian-born high school French teacher) did grant me a sturdy enough foundation to appreciate what you are up to here. I very much like the bilingual web you weave.

    Also, I want to second Cheri's recommendation of Billy Collins. Two poems that come to mind immediately are Schoolville (about a town populated by his former students) and Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes (which you can hear Mr. Collins read somewhere on youtube, I believe).

    And, finally, I thought it was time I said hello properly. Greetings!

  14. Welcome Jenny. Billy Collins seems interesting, I'll get something of him.
    As for competition, well, I'm all for peace and love.


    This is what I meant by "les tire-bouchons" in Montréal ma ville.