Jan 262013

Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also : an instance of this (Merriam-Webster).

A week ago Melissa mentioned Aloysius Bertrand who influenced Baudelaire; she was reading Paris Spleen. At the time this did not quite register on my tracking mechanism. But early this morning, sleepless as usual, I was looking at Unjustly Unread (which you ought to read daily with your eggs and bacon) and happened upon the video of Ivo Pogorelich playing Ravel’s “Le Gibet” from Gaspard de la Nuit. Who could not be drawn, before dawn, to something called “The Gibbet?” I hunted around and discovered it was from a group of poems by Aloysius Bertrand. You can find the whole thing in French on Project Gutenberg. I found a translation by Nancy Bricard. E.g. “…the bell that tolls from the walls of a city, under the horizon, and the corpse of the hanged one that is reddened by the setting sun.” I listened to other piano performances and discovered that Pogorelich really has the most lorn and mournful affect.

Unjustly Unread lives in a cluster of other sites well worth looking at (most sites seem to live in clusters of like minded author/curators — an observation of Internet anthropology). So see also Will Schofield’s 50 Watts and Stephen Sparks’ Invisible Stories.




Que vois-je remuer autour de ce gibet?  —Faust

Ah! ce que j’entends, serait-ce la bise nocturne qui glapit, ou le pendu
qui pousse un soupir sur la fourche patibulaire?

Serait-ce quelque grillon qui chante tapi dans la mousse et le lierre
stérile dont par pitié se chausse le bois?

Serait-ce quelque mouche en chasse sonnant du cor autour de ces oreilles
sourdes à la fanfare des hallali?

Serait-ce quelque escarbot qui cueille en son vol inégal un cheveu
sanglant à son crâne chauve?

Ou bien serait-ce quelque araignée qui brode une demi-aune de mousseline
pour cravate à ce col étranglé?

C’est la cloche qui tinte aux murs d’une ville, sous l’horizon, et la
carcasse d’un pendu que rougit le soleil couchant.

  One Response to “What do I see stirring around that gibbet?”

  1. Lovely. Mournful. And thank you for Unjustly Unread. Perfect.

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