Voyelles : Vowels|
Translated by Holly Tannen
original manuscript shown below
"Puanteurs cruelles" translates literally as "cruel stenches." What to do? I knew I was never going to be able to say "cruel stenches" in front of an audience.
Claude Jeancolas' Le Dictionnaire Rimbaud (Balland, 1991) and Rimbaud, l'oeuvre (Textuel, 2000) helped me come up with a solution. Jeancolas says the "puanteurs cruelles" are "Champignons vénéneux. A rapprocher des 'bleuisons aurorales' autour desquels 'bombinent' les diptères dans Les Mains de Jeanne-Marie." ("Poisonous mushrooms. Compare with the 'bleuisons aurorales' around which 'bombinent' [buzz or drone; a word created by Rimbaud from the Latin bombus, drone] the flies in The Hands of Jeanne-Marie.") The "petit aurore bleu" is a species of Agaric, a common poisonous mushroom.
I asked Kat Emerson for the names of some poisonous mushrooms. She came up with "death angels," which, while a stretch, is très rimbaldien. Rimbaud describes himself as "an angel in the hands of a barber" in "Oraison du Soir" (Evening Prayer) and, probably, as the "damned angel" in "L'Angélot Maudit" (Damned Angel).
In "The Good Disciple" Verlaine called him "mortal, angel and demon", and wrote "What hard Angel batters me / Between the shoulderblades / As I fly up to Paradise?"
Death Angel Mushrooms
A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, 0 bleu: voyelles,
Golfes d'ombre ; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
O, suprême Clairon plein de strideurs étranges,
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next: The Star has wept rose...
Mistress of Folklore|
|Holly Tannen teaches folklore and anthropology, and has lectured on contemporary magic at U.C. Berkeley and at Yale University. Her recordings include "Invocation", "Between the Worlds", and "Rime of the Ancient Matriarch"|
|updated 29 April 2002 : 14:35 Caspar (Pacific) time|
All text, translations, and songs copyright © 2002 by Holly Tannen