TWO POEMS BY PAUL GRANIER from Cockerels and Vultures
The rain, endlessly unravelling;
the rain, shovelling at the mud the whole sullen day;
the rain, unendingly sobbing its toneless chords;
and the whispering wind, crumbling the cloud into drizzle . . .
Why, this evening, am I haunted so
by that majestic andante
from the Seventh Symphony?
Its chords, as magnificently simple
as the triumphal arches of the ancients,
hold me in a vast enchantment.
Its harmony is velvet to my soul,
its murmur a caress that soothes
the melancholy as we pick our way
along the bank of this canal.
The rain has never stopped . . .
The mud is all long, snaking rivulets of agate
and clouded onyx, chopped into splashes
with every drawn-out hoof-fall of my horse.
The rain has never stopped, the whole lead-blue day.
gently eases my resentment
with its divine serenity . . .
Ah, those Sundays, not two years ago —
the Sunday afternoons,
the lamp-lit hall,
the huge orchestra a single mind and spirit
in every flying bow-tip:
The miraculous fluid
a fountain spreading up to the galleries, then
falling like snowflakes onto souls laid bare,
like springtime sunlight through stained glass
on a girl’s communion veil.
the andante is gentle, with a touch of sadness,
like an autumn evening over ponds,
or the voix céleste of an organ;
and my chrysalid soul
weaves itself a wonderful cocoon
from this aching blessedness,
on the purple silk weft of the rain.
Paul Granier, Chauvoncourt road. 1915, translated by Ian Higgins.
Juddering iron buckets clanging,
jerking deadweight chains clanking,
the thunderlumbering caravan
labours on, along the baking roads and tracks,
all thunderous crash and clash.
The straining, weary horses
as though to doubt
their onward slog will ever end . . .
Wheels as thick as millstones
mill the crunching road.
And in towns and villages along the way
thunderstruck groups watch
the deadweight cortege of death grind past,
the squat carriages, bolt-stubbled muscles bulging,
and, mute, menacing, brutal,
the black barrels, muzzled and bound like lunatics.
Paul Granier, 1914, translated by Ian Higgins.