wildestranger: (Default)
Here is a thing I wrote for Yuletide:

Title: Respire le grand air
Fandom: Les Hommes Libres
Pairing: Salim Halali/Younes Ben Daoud

It is based on a film centred around the Grand Mosque in Paris during the Nazi occupation, and its role in saving Jewish people from persecution by issuing false certificates of Islamic faith. The extent to which this happened is a matter of some debate - there seem to be current politics related to the state of Israel and its relationship with other countries in the Middle East which affect this discussion - but one person who is thought to have been saved this way is Salim Halali, a Jewish Algerian who later became a famous singer. He was known, particularly, for reviving classical Andalusian music (which originated in Moorish Andalucia during the Middle Ages - it's beautiful, and I would recommend you give it a go. Try Jordi Savall and Granada Eterna as well as Salim Halali himself). He is also known to have been gay.

The film shows the relationship between Salim Halali and a fictional Algerian Muslim named Younes, who ends up (apparently through accidental awkwardness) getting involved in the operations of the Mosque; it basically consists of a lot of pining and longing glances and casual touching. There is even a happy ending.

It is not a well-known film, and I was sincerely surprised to get two comments on my fic because that meant that more than one person (my recipient) had seen it. But it is a good film, and a thoughtful film, and you can get it for £4.99 from iTunes, so you should all see it and then come and read my fic.
wildestranger: (fleshdress)
I have been adding new friends here with the aim of deleting my lj in a few days. I haven't been using either journal much in the last few years, but I remember a time when lj was the best thing in my life and it will be a loss to get rid of all those posts. I'm pretty sure I was witty and thoughtful there sometimes, years ago. :)

Perhaps I will try that again.
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Friends, I will be deleting this journal in a few days. Please find me here: http://wildestranger.dreamwidth.org/read
wildestranger: (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I have just realised that I completely forgot to fill this one out - I'm so so sorry! I hope you have gone on without my views and written something that pleases yourself instead.

I promise I will love whatever you do, and even if I don't, I would still consider it fair enough because yuletide, for me, is less about creating something to suit another person's tastes and needs, and more about using their prompts to produce something that you yourself want to engage with. So I sincerely hope you have done/are doing that, and I look forward to reading it in December!

Moving

Jul. 16th, 2016 08:08 am
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Hello friends!

I am moving cities today - from London to the seaside to start a new job. The job sounds promising, the city has potential, but unfortunately I won't have internet for the next three weeks. I do have twitter on my phone, so you can reach me there if there is something you feel I ought to be aware of, and I expect I will be taking my iPad to a few internet cafes in the next week, for tumblr and fic purposes.

See you in three weeks! Let's hope there is still a world to come back to.

Moving

Jul. 16th, 2016 08:03 am
wildestranger: (Default)
Hello friends!

I am moving cities today - from London to the seaside to start a new job. The job sounds promising, the city has potential, but unfortunately I won't have internet for the next three weeks. I do have twitter on my phone, so you can reach me there if there is something you feel I ought to be aware of, and I expect I will be taking my iPad to a few internet cafes in the next week, for tumblr and fic purposes.

See you in three weeks! Let's hope there is still a world to come back to.
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Eeva Kilpi, ‘Tell me immediately if I'm disturbing you’.

Sano heti jos minä häiritsen,
hän sanoi astuessaan ovesta sisään,
niin minä lähden saman tien pois.

Sinä et ainoastaan häiritse,
minä vastasin,
sinä järkytät koko minun olemustani.
Tervetuloa.

Tell me immediately if I'm disturbing you,
He said, coming in the door,
And I will leave right away.

You not only disturb,
I answered,
You shake my whole being.
Welcome.
wildestranger: (green wine)
Eeva Kilpi, ‘Tell me immediately if I'm disturbing you’.

Sano heti jos minä häiritsen,
hän sanoi astuessaan ovesta sisään,
niin minä lähden saman tien pois.

Sinä et ainoastaan häiritse,
minä vastasin,
sinä järkytät koko minun olemustani.
Tervetuloa.

Tell me immediately if I'm disturbing you,
He said, coming in the door,
And I will leave right away.

You not only disturb,
I answered,
You shake my whole being.
Welcome.
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Marko Vešović, ‘A Deathless Moment’

Na prijelazu uličnom dejstvuje snajperist.
Dvije djevojke, zadihane od pretrčavanja.
Iz njih bije vrelina, mirisna, kao iz rublja
svilenog, koje se pegla. U jedne nije frizura
već naježeno božićno žito. Praska, bjesni i psuje
snajperiste: pričinja mi se da kroz prozor
krasnu oluju gledam!
U druge, riječi prijatne
ko lepet suncobrana, izjutra, na plaži budvanskoj.
Trzajem, povremeno, zabaci kosu. Zbog nas!
Jer zna: kad god je zabaci, duga će kosa da zamiriše.
Ljepotica. Ali od onih koje nikad ne propuste
da ti se nasmiješe. I raskošno i škrto.
Dovoljno raskošno da bi te usrećile. Dovoljno škrto
da njih ne košta ništa. Smiješak njihov ti javlja
da za njih nisi stvar među stvarima.
Možda čak da bi htjele sa tebe skinuti čini
ako te leden pogled ženski već u stvar pretvorio.
U zraku snažno zamirisa na moju davnu mladost
kad je svaka aleja vodila do na kraj svijeta.
Kad je duša umjela, čak i u pustinji,
raspjevati se ko žetelica.
Kad život još ne bješe otrcan ko poslovica.
Odoše, čavrljajući, a u meni ostavile su nježnost
kakva te obuzme kad dugo gledaš nebesa
u kojima se snježne pahulje roje.
Odoše. Ne dvije djevojke,
već dva vjetrića, pirnula iznenadno
kroz žegu opsade.
Ilinsku žegu postojanja.

A Deathless Moment

A sniper is working a street crossing.
Two girls, breathless from running across.
They radiate heat, perfumed, like silk
underwear being ironed. One of them doesn't have a hairdo,
but bristling wheat sprouts on her head. She's fuming, thundering,
and cursing at the sniper: I seem to be watching, like out of a window,
a glorious storm! The other's words are pleasant
like the fluttering of an umbrella, in the morning, at the Budva beach.
She tosses her head from time to time. For our sake!
For she knows: with each toss, her long hair will smell sweetly.
A beauty. But one of those who never
fail to smile at you. Both lavishly and stingily.
Lavishly enough to make you happy. Stingily enough
that it costs them nothing. Their smile
lets you know that for them you are not a thing among things.
They wish perhaps to break the spell put on you
by an icy female look that has turned you into a thing.
The air smelled sweetly of my youth of long ago
when every tree-lined lane led to the end of the world.
When life was not yet worn thin like a proverb.
They left, leaving in me the tenderness
that comes over you when you look long at the skies
swarming with snowflakes.
They went, chattering—not two girls, but two breezes, blowing suddenly
through scorching heat of the siege. Through the dog days of existence.
wildestranger: (green wine)
Marko Vešović, ‘A Deathless Moment’

Na prijelazu uličnom dejstvuje snajperist.
Dvije djevojke, zadihane od pretrčavanja.
Iz njih bije vrelina, mirisna, kao iz rublja
svilenog, koje se pegla. U jedne nije frizura
već naježeno božićno žito. Praska, bjesni i psuje
snajperiste: pričinja mi se da kroz prozor
krasnu oluju gledam!
U druge, riječi prijatne
ko lepet suncobrana, izjutra, na plaži budvanskoj.
Trzajem, povremeno, zabaci kosu. Zbog nas!
Jer zna: kad god je zabaci, duga će kosa da zamiriše.
Ljepotica. Ali od onih koje nikad ne propuste
da ti se nasmiješe. I raskošno i škrto.
Dovoljno raskošno da bi te usrećile. Dovoljno škrto
da njih ne košta ništa. Smiješak njihov ti javlja
da za njih nisi stvar među stvarima.
Možda čak da bi htjele sa tebe skinuti čini
ako te leden pogled ženski već u stvar pretvorio.
U zraku snažno zamirisa na moju davnu mladost
kad je svaka aleja vodila do na kraj svijeta.
Kad je duša umjela, čak i u pustinji,
raspjevati se ko žetelica.
Kad život još ne bješe otrcan ko poslovica.
Odoše, čavrljajući, a u meni ostavile su nježnost
kakva te obuzme kad dugo gledaš nebesa
u kojima se snježne pahulje roje.
Odoše. Ne dvije djevojke,
već dva vjetrića, pirnula iznenadno
kroz žegu opsade.
Ilinsku žegu postojanja.

A Deathless Moment

A sniper is working a street crossing.
Two girls, breathless from running across.
They radiate heat, perfumed, like silk
underwear being ironed. One of them doesn't have a hairdo,
but bristling wheat sprouts on her head. She's fuming, thundering,
and cursing at the sniper: I seem to be watching, like out of a window,
a glorious storm! The other's words are pleasant
like the fluttering of an umbrella, in the morning, at the Budva beach.
She tosses her head from time to time. For our sake!
For she knows: with each toss, her long hair will smell sweetly.
A beauty. But one of those who never
fail to smile at you. Both lavishly and stingily.
Lavishly enough to make you happy. Stingily enough
that it costs them nothing. Their smile
lets you know that for them you are not a thing among things.
They wish perhaps to break the spell put on you
by an icy female look that has turned you into a thing.
The air smelled sweetly of my youth of long ago
when every tree-lined lane led to the end of the world.
When life was not yet worn thin like a proverb.
They left, leaving in me the tenderness
that comes over you when you look long at the skies
swarming with snowflakes.
They went, chattering—not two girls, but two breezes, blowing suddenly
through scorching heat of the siege. Through the dog days of existence.
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Today's poem is an angry feminist response to historical Icelandic poetry. You can find the context here: http://wdvalgardsonkaffihus.com/blog/2013/02/11/boys-pretending-to-be-vikings/

Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir ‘Woman’

Þegar allt hefur verið sagt
þegar vandamál heimsins eru
vegin metin og útkljáð
þegar augu hafa mæst
og hendur verið þrýstar
í alvöru augnabliksins
- kemur alltaf einhver kona
að taka af borðinu
sópa gólfið og opna gluggana
til að hleypa vindlareyknum út.
Það bregst ekki.

When all has been said
When the problems of the world
Have been weighed gauged and settled
When eyes have met
And hands been pressed
In the sobriety of the moment
–some woman always comes
To clear the table
Sweep the floor and open the windows
To let out the cigar smoke.
It never fails.
wildestranger: (green wine)
Today's poem is an angry feminist response to historical Icelandic poetry. You can find the context here: http://wdvalgardsonkaffihus.com/blog/2013/02/11/boys-pretending-to-be-vikings/

Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir ‘Woman’

Þegar allt hefur verið sagt
þegar vandamál heimsins eru
vegin metin og útkljáð
þegar augu hafa mæst
og hendur verið þrýstar
í alvöru augnabliksins
- kemur alltaf einhver kona
að taka af borðinu
sópa gólfið og opna gluggana
til að hleypa vindlareyknum út.
Það bregst ekki.

When all has been said
When the problems of the world
Have been weighed gauged and settled
When eyes have met
And hands been pressed
In the sobriety of the moment
–some woman always comes
To clear the table
Sweep the floor and open the windows
To let out the cigar smoke.
It never fails.
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Sophia de Mello Breyner, 'We Will Rise'

Ressurgiremos ainda sob os muros de Cnossos
E em Delphos centro do mundo
Ressurgiremos ainda na dura luz de Creta

Ressurgiremos ali onde as palavras
São o nome das coisas
E onde são claros e vivos os contornos
Na aguda luz de Creta

Ressurgiremos ali onde pedra estrela e tempo
São o reino do homem
Ressurgiremos para olhar para a terra de frente
Na luz limpa de Creta

Pois convém tornar claro o coração do homem
E erguer a negra exactidão da cruz
Na luz branca de Creta

We will rise again beneath the walls of Knossos
And in Delphi the centre of the world
We will rise again in the harsh light of Crete

We will rise where words
Are the names of things
Where outlines are clear and vivid
There in the sharp light of Crete

We will rise where stone the stars and time
Are the kingdom of man
We will rise to stare straight at the earth
In the clear light of Crete

For it is good to clarify the heart of man
And to lift the black exactness of the cross
In the white light of Crete

Trans. by Richard Zenith
wildestranger: (green wine)
Sophia de Mello Breyner, 'We Will Rise'

Ressurgiremos ainda sob os muros de Cnossos
E em Delphos centro do mundo
Ressurgiremos ainda na dura luz de Creta

Ressurgiremos ali onde as palavras
São o nome das coisas
E onde são claros e vivos os contornos
Na aguda luz de Creta

Ressurgiremos ali onde pedra estrela e tempo
São o reino do homem
Ressurgiremos para olhar para a terra de frente
Na luz limpa de Creta

Pois convém tornar claro o coração do homem
E erguer a negra exactidão da cruz
Na luz branca de Creta

We will rise again beneath the walls of Knossos
And in Delphi the centre of the world
We will rise again in the harsh light of Crete

We will rise where words
Are the names of things
Where outlines are clear and vivid
There in the sharp light of Crete

We will rise where stone the stars and time
Are the kingdom of man
We will rise to stare straight at the earth
In the clear light of Crete

For it is good to clarify the heart of man
And to lift the black exactness of the cross
In the white light of Crete

Trans. by Richard Zenith
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Keeping with minority languages, here is a poem in Frisian, one of the languages spoken in Belgium.


Tsjebbe Hettinga ‘Overseas and Farther’

In brief, in flecht, in kommen ûnder de golfplaten
Fan ús hutte yn in hôf fan oliven ferburgen,
Yn ’e middei op in eilân yn ’e weagen fan
In mediterrane archipel: alve dagen do
Waarm en ryp as de fruchten dêr’tst mei komst. Eagen dêr’tst
In man it swartst ljocht mei ferreagest hasto en eat fan
It Hollânsk fleanen om ’e mûle dat him deljout
As it hite kalkstof fan it paad dat dy brocht hat en
Yn himsels weromgiet mei de blauwe trekker út
It seedoarp wei, trekker, ûnderweis nei de see werom.

A letter, a flight, a getting together again
Under the corrugated roof of our cottage, hidden
In the cool noon of an olive grove on an island
Amid the waves of an Aegean archipelago:
Eleven days of you, warm and ripe as the fruit you
Brought with you; and while your eyes dispel a man’s darkest light,
The trace of urban haste around your mouth comes to rest
Like the hot chalky dust of the path that led you here, which
Keeps bumping into itself as the blue tractor from
The village by the sea winds its way back down to the shore.


You can find the rest of the poem here: http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4582/auto/0/FROM-OVERSEAS-AND-FARTHER
wildestranger: (green wine)
Keeping with minority languages, here is a poem in Frisian, one of the languages spoken in Belgium.


Tsjebbe Hettinga ‘Overseas and Farther’

In brief, in flecht, in kommen ûnder de golfplaten
Fan ús hutte yn in hôf fan oliven ferburgen,
Yn ’e middei op in eilân yn ’e weagen fan
In mediterrane archipel: alve dagen do
Waarm en ryp as de fruchten dêr’tst mei komst. Eagen dêr’tst
In man it swartst ljocht mei ferreagest hasto en eat fan
It Hollânsk fleanen om ’e mûle dat him deljout
As it hite kalkstof fan it paad dat dy brocht hat en
Yn himsels weromgiet mei de blauwe trekker út
It seedoarp wei, trekker, ûnderweis nei de see werom.

A letter, a flight, a getting together again
Under the corrugated roof of our cottage, hidden
In the cool noon of an olive grove on an island
Amid the waves of an Aegean archipelago:
Eleven days of you, warm and ripe as the fruit you
Brought with you; and while your eyes dispel a man’s darkest light,
The trace of urban haste around your mouth comes to rest
Like the hot chalky dust of the path that led you here, which
Keeps bumping into itself as the blue tractor from
The village by the sea winds its way back down to the shore.


You can find the rest of the poem here: http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4582/auto/0/FROM-OVERSEAS-AND-FARTHER
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
This is what you get when you google Catalan Poetry on St George's day - first result, ad it's wonderful!

Vicent Andrés Estellés, ‘Els Amants’

No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres.
Feroçment ens amàvem del matí a la nit.
Tot ho recorde mentre vas estenent la roba.
Han passat anys, molt anys; han passat moltes coses.
De sobte encara em pren aquell vent o l'amor
i rodolem per terra entre abraços i besos.
No comprenem l'amor com un costum amable,
com un costum pacífic de compliment i teles
(i que ens perdone el cast senyor López-Picó).
Es desperta, de sobte, com un vell huracà,
i ens tomba en terra els dos, ens ajunta, ens empeny.
Jo desitjava, a voltes, un amor educat
i en marxa el tocadiscos, negligentment besant-te,
ara un muscle i després el peço d'una orella.
El nostre amor es un amor brusc i salvatge
i tenim l'enyorança amarga dela terra,
d'anar a rebolcons entre besos i arraps.
Què voleu que hi faça! Elemental, ja ho sé.
Ignorem el Petrarca i ignorem moltes coses.
Les Estances de Riba i les Rimas de Bécquer.
Després, tombats en terra de qualsevol manera,
comprenem que som bàrbars, i que aixòno deu ser,
que no estem en l'edat, i tot això i allò.
No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres,
car d'amants com nosaltres en son parits ben pocs.

Never were there in València two lovers like us.
We loved ferociously, from morn 'til night.
I recall everything, as you hang out the clothes.
Years have passed, many years: many things have happened.
Suddenly that wind, or love, seizes me still
And we roll on the ground amidst embraces and kisses.
We do not know love as a loving custom,
As a quiet custom of politeness and finery
(and may the chaste López-Picó pardon us).
Love, It awakens suddenly, like an old hurricane,
it throws us to the ground, it joins us together,
squeezing us tightly.
Sometimes I desired a courteous love,
With the gramophone on, kissing you idly,
Now a shoulder, next an ear lobe.
Our love is a brusque and savage love
And we feel a bitter yearning for the earth,
Of rolling upside down amidst kisses and clutches.
I'll say it clear. Primal, ... I know it.
We ignore Petrarch's work, we ignore many things.
The stanzas of Riba, the rhymes of Bécquer.
Afterwards, lying somehow on the ground,
We realise that we are barbarous, that this may not be,
we are not in the right age, and this and that.
Never were there in València two lovers like us,
Lovers like us are just not born !


Trans. by Jack. H. Smith
wildestranger: (green wine)
This is what you get when you google Catalan Poetry on St George's day - first result, ad it's wonderful!

Vicent Andrés Estellés, ‘Els Amants’

No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres.
Feroçment ens amàvem del matí a la nit.
Tot ho recorde mentre vas estenent la roba.
Han passat anys, molt anys; han passat moltes coses.
De sobte encara em pren aquell vent o l'amor
i rodolem per terra entre abraços i besos.
No comprenem l'amor com un costum amable,
com un costum pacífic de compliment i teles
(i que ens perdone el cast senyor López-Picó).
Es desperta, de sobte, com un vell huracà,
i ens tomba en terra els dos, ens ajunta, ens empeny.
Jo desitjava, a voltes, un amor educat
i en marxa el tocadiscos, negligentment besant-te,
ara un muscle i després el peço d'una orella.
El nostre amor es un amor brusc i salvatge
i tenim l'enyorança amarga dela terra,
d'anar a rebolcons entre besos i arraps.
Què voleu que hi faça! Elemental, ja ho sé.
Ignorem el Petrarca i ignorem moltes coses.
Les Estances de Riba i les Rimas de Bécquer.
Després, tombats en terra de qualsevol manera,
comprenem que som bàrbars, i que aixòno deu ser,
que no estem en l'edat, i tot això i allò.
No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres,
car d'amants com nosaltres en son parits ben pocs.

Never were there in València two lovers like us.
We loved ferociously, from morn 'til night.
I recall everything, as you hang out the clothes.
Years have passed, many years: many things have happened.
Suddenly that wind, or love, seizes me still
And we roll on the ground amidst embraces and kisses.
We do not know love as a loving custom,
As a quiet custom of politeness and finery
(and may the chaste López-Picó pardon us).
Love, It awakens suddenly, like an old hurricane,
it throws us to the ground, it joins us together,
squeezing us tightly.
Sometimes I desired a courteous love,
With the gramophone on, kissing you idly,
Now a shoulder, next an ear lobe.
Our love is a brusque and savage love
And we feel a bitter yearning for the earth,
Of rolling upside down amidst kisses and clutches.
I'll say it clear. Primal, ... I know it.
We ignore Petrarch's work, we ignore many things.
The stanzas of Riba, the rhymes of Bécquer.
Afterwards, lying somehow on the ground,
We realise that we are barbarous, that this may not be,
we are not in the right age, and this and that.
Never were there in València two lovers like us,
Lovers like us are just not born !


Trans. by Jack. H. Smith
wildestranger: (wine wildestranger)
Here is another one from François Villon, written supposedly in prison where he was tortured and kept in an oubliette. It is very 'supposedly' - the poem is our only evidence - but it is an interesting text regardless of its real-life context.

François Villon, ‘Epistre a ses amis’

Aiez pitié, aiez pitié de moy,
A tout le moins, si vous plaist, mes amis.
En fosse gis, non pas soubz houx ne may,
En cest exil ouquel je suis transmis
Par Fortunre, comme Dieu l’a permis.
Filles, amans, jeunes gens et nouveaulx,
Danceurs, saulteurs faisnas les piez de veaux,
Vifs comme dars, agus comme agillon,
Gousiers tintants cler comme cascaveaux,
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Chantres chantans a plaisance sans loy,
Galans rians, plaisans en fais et dis,
Courens, alans, francs de faulx or, d’aloy,
Gens d’esperit – ung petit estourdis –
Trop demourez car il meurt entandis.
Faiseurs de laiz, de motetz et rondeaux,
Quant mort sera vous lui ferez chaudeaux.
Ou gist, il n’entre escler ne tourbillon.
De murs espoix on lui a fait bandeaux.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Venez le veoir en ce piteux arroy,
Nobles homes, francs de quart et de dix,
Qui ne tenez d’empereur ne de roy
Mais seulement de Dieu de Paradis.
Jeuner lui fault dimenches et merdis,
Dont les dens a plus longues que ratteaux.
Après pain sec, non pas après gasteaux,
En ses boyaulx verse eaue a gros bouillon.
Bas en terre, table n’a ne tresteaulx.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Princes nommez, ancïens, jouvenceaux,
Impetrez moy graces et royaulx seaux
Et me montez en quelque crobillon;
Ainsi le font, l’un a l’autre, pourceaux,
Car ou l’un brat ilz fyuent a monceaux.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Have some pity now, pity on me,
And, of all people, you my muckers – please.
Dungeoned and ditched, no holly, hawthorn tree
For shelter, in this exile where God agrees
In letting Fortune dump me on my knees.
My girls, you lovers, greenhorns, young or grey,
Dancers, tumblers, jigging the Antic Hey,
Quick as a dart and sharp as spurs, the pair,
With gullets clear as bells tinkling away.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Singers of songs who choose the melody,
Laughing gallants whose words and doings please,
Love-hounds from alloy and false gold free,
You wits –a little dumbstruck – you seize
Up far too long; he dies by slow degrees.
Makers of motet, rondeau, song and lay,
When he is dead, you’ll bring the tonics tray.
He lies where whirlwind, lightnings never fare.
Thick walls blindfold his eyes from light of day;
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

His dreadful state you ought to come and see,
Spiritual lords, exempt from tithe, tax-fees,
Who pay no heed to emperor or majesty
And but to God of Paradise bend knees,
He fasts now Sundays, Tuesdays too, no sprees,
His teeth are longer than a rake’s for hay.
After dry bread, not after cakes, no way,
He fills his guts with water, gallons, where,
Deep down, is bed nor chair for him today.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Princes here addressed, the young and grey,
Make royal seal and pardon come my way.
And raise me in a basket to fresh air.
The swine will do as much, as I’ve heard say,
For, if one squeals, the rest rush for the stray.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Trans. by Peter Dale
wildestranger: (green wine)
Here is another one from François Villon, written supposedly in prison where he was tortured and kept in an oubliette. It is very 'supposedly' - the poem is our only evidence - but it is an interesting text regardless of its real-life context.

François Villon, ‘Epistre a ses amis’

Aiez pitié, aiez pitié de moy,
A tout le moins, si vous plaist, mes amis.
En fosse gis, non pas soubz houx ne may,
En cest exil ouquel je suis transmis
Par Fortunre, comme Dieu l’a permis.
Filles, amans, jeunes gens et nouveaulx,
Danceurs, saulteurs faisnas les piez de veaux,
Vifs comme dars, agus comme agillon,
Gousiers tintants cler comme cascaveaux,
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Chantres chantans a plaisance sans loy,
Galans rians, plaisans en fais et dis,
Courens, alans, francs de faulx or, d’aloy,
Gens d’esperit – ung petit estourdis –
Trop demourez car il meurt entandis.
Faiseurs de laiz, de motetz et rondeaux,
Quant mort sera vous lui ferez chaudeaux.
Ou gist, il n’entre escler ne tourbillon.
De murs espoix on lui a fait bandeaux.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Venez le veoir en ce piteux arroy,
Nobles homes, francs de quart et de dix,
Qui ne tenez d’empereur ne de roy
Mais seulement de Dieu de Paradis.
Jeuner lui fault dimenches et merdis,
Dont les dens a plus longues que ratteaux.
Après pain sec, non pas après gasteaux,
En ses boyaulx verse eaue a gros bouillon.
Bas en terre, table n’a ne tresteaulx.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Princes nommez, ancïens, jouvenceaux,
Impetrez moy graces et royaulx seaux
Et me montez en quelque crobillon;
Ainsi le font, l’un a l’autre, pourceaux,
Car ou l’un brat ilz fyuent a monceaux.
Le lesseres la, le povre Villon?

Have some pity now, pity on me,
And, of all people, you my muckers – please.
Dungeoned and ditched, no holly, hawthorn tree
For shelter, in this exile where God agrees
In letting Fortune dump me on my knees.
My girls, you lovers, greenhorns, young or grey,
Dancers, tumblers, jigging the Antic Hey,
Quick as a dart and sharp as spurs, the pair,
With gullets clear as bells tinkling away.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Singers of songs who choose the melody,
Laughing gallants whose words and doings please,
Love-hounds from alloy and false gold free,
You wits –a little dumbstruck – you seize
Up far too long; he dies by slow degrees.
Makers of motet, rondeau, song and lay,
When he is dead, you’ll bring the tonics tray.
He lies where whirlwind, lightnings never fare.
Thick walls blindfold his eyes from light of day;
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

His dreadful state you ought to come and see,
Spiritual lords, exempt from tithe, tax-fees,
Who pay no heed to emperor or majesty
And but to God of Paradise bend knees,
He fasts now Sundays, Tuesdays too, no sprees,
His teeth are longer than a rake’s for hay.
After dry bread, not after cakes, no way,
He fills his guts with water, gallons, where,
Deep down, is bed nor chair for him today.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Princes here addressed, the young and grey,
Make royal seal and pardon come my way.
And raise me in a basket to fresh air.
The swine will do as much, as I’ve heard say,
For, if one squeals, the rest rush for the stray.
Poor Villon, will you leave him lying there?

Trans. by Peter Dale

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