Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Frog poetry

I mentioned a poem of Baudelaire in a post last February and was greatly impressed to hear from a friend that in her teens she had learned L’Invitation au Voyage by heart with a view to reciting it one day during some romantic episode; sadly, it seems that the opportunity never came, not through a lack of episodes featuring luxe, calme et volupté but because none of them involved anyone who would have appreciated this mystical (i.e. incomprehensible) poem.

Perhaps I might have done, given the chance, but, let’s face it, nowadays there aren’t many of us left who know the difference between rondel, rondeau and triolet, or could give examples of the displaced caesura in Hugo, or comment on Rouget de Lisle’s use of enjambement or on Lamartine’s rejection of classical Alexandrines, all topics that used to provoke heated discussion down the pub in my teenage years.
Ah, fuyez, douce image!”, as we often sang in boozy chorus at closing time.

2 comments:

Hugh said...

You wicked bloody liar. I remember those evenings at the White Bear, and our wide-ranging discussions never touched on anything remotely like that. None of us, especially you, would have recognised a classical Alxandrine even if it came with a packet of salt and vinegar. I don’t believe you know any French poetry, or any real French if it comes to that.

Tony said...

Yes, I suppose you’re right, though I am quite good on the French names of vegetables. Unfortunately, these hardly ever crop up in poetry, partly because they’re not mystical enough and partly because there are few rhyme schemes into which rutabaga (for example) can be easily fitted.