Ferlinghetti[1]

 

Un Coney Island de l’esprit (7 – 15)

 

7

Qu’est-ce qu’elle pourrait bien dire à son fidèle nounours

et quoi dire à son frère

et quoi dire

                                    à ce garçon aux pieds futurs

et quoi dire à sa mère

après s’être roulée par terre ivre

                                                parmi les fleurs qui penchent

     sur la chaude rive du fleuve

                    où les fougères dépérissaient dans l’air brisé

                                 du souffle de son amant

     où les oiseaux devenus fous

                                       se jetaient du haut des arbres

pour goûter encore chaudes sur le sol

                                             les graines du sperme épandu

 

8

          Ce jour-là dans le Golden Gate-Park

                                          un homme et une femme s’avançaient

               sur l’énorme pelouse

                                                        qui était la pelouse du monde

il portait des bretelles vertes

                                                                            et dans une main

                                                      une vielle flûte toute usée          

            pendant que sa femme avait une grappe de raisins

                                                            dont elle donnait les grains                                                                                        

                                                                                        un par un

                                                            à plusieurs écureuils

                                                                        comme s’ils étaient

                                                                chacun une petite blague

 

    Et puis les deux se sont encore avancés

                                               sur l’énorme pelouse

qui était la pelouse du monde

                                                         et puis

                             à un point très tranquille où les arbres rêvaient

                         et semblaient depuis la nuit des temps les avoir

                                                                                                  attendus

                               ils s’assirent ensemble sur l’herbe

                                                            sans se regarder

                                      et mangèrent des oranges

                                                            sans se regarder

                                                                        et déposèrent les pelures

                                                dans un panier que semblai-il

                                                                      ils avaient apporté exprès

                                                            sans se regarder

 

Et puis

                                il ôta sa chemise et son débardeur

                           mais garda son chapeau

                                                           un peu de travers

                                                                                  et sans rien dire

                                    il s’endormit dessous

                                                              Et sa femme resta à regarder

les oiseaux qui volaient alentours

     s’interpellant

                                  dans l’air immobile

            comme s’ils interrogeaient l’existence même

                        ou tentaient de se rappeler quelque chose d’oublié

 

Mais finalement

                       elle aussi s’allongea

                                                        et demeura à regarder en l’air

                                                                           rien en particulier

                    tout en tripotant la vieille flûte

                                                                dont personne n’avait joué

                           et finalement elle posa les yeux

                                                                   sur lui

                     sans aucune expression particulière

                                                                   sinon un certain air affreux

                                     de dépression profonde

 

9

Voyez

      ça s’est passé comme ça

                                 on est entré à pas de valse dans ce bouge

où une poignée de fêtards

                          dansaient le two-step Aztèque

 

Et là j’dis

                 On y va mon pote

mais voilà que cette poule

                            arrive derrière moi

                                              en disant

                            toi et moi nous pourrions exister pour de bon

 

Ouah j’dis

                 Mais bon le lendemain

                       elle a les dents pourries

                              et en plus elle n’aime pas

                                                                 la poésie

 

10

                Je n’ai pas passé ma vie couché auprès de la beauté

                           à me répéter sans fin

                                                ses charmes les plus galvaudés

 

           Je n’ai pas passé ma vie couché auprès de la beauté

                                                       ni menti de concert avec elle

                           à me répéter sans fin

                                                que la beauté ne meurt jamais

                                  et qu’elle repose à l’écart

                                                parmi les aborigènes

                                                                                    de l’art

                                    et bien au-dessus des champs de bataille

                                                                                    de l’amour

 

                 Elle est au-dessus de tout cela

                                            oh oui

                  elle est assise sur les meilleurs

                                                        trônes

     là haut où se réunissent les directeurs artistiques

pour choisir les candidats à l’immortalité

                                                   Et ils ont passé leur vie couchés

                                       auprès de la beauté  

                                                                       alimentés de nectar

         buvant les vins du Paradis

                                                       et donc ils savent exactement

              qu’une chose belle est une joie

pour les siècles des siècles

                                            et que jamais au grand jamais

                  elle ne peut s’évanouir

                                    dans un néant de pertes financières

 

  Oh non je ne me suis pas vautré

                            comme eux sur les Matelas de la Beauté

         sans oser me lever la nuit

                                          de peur de rater

le moindre mouvement de la beauté

       Pourtant j’ai couché avec la beauté

                                                   à ma drôle de manière

et j’ai fait quelques scènes passionnées

                                                         avec la beauté de mon lit

er versé un poème ou deux

                                                          sur ce monde à la Bosch

 

11

  Le désert blessé de Morris Graves

        n’est pas l’ouest sauvage

                                           que l’homme blanc avait découvert

c’est une terre ou Bouddha est venu

                                                depuis une autre direction

     c’est un nid blanc sauvage

                                au pôle nord

                                                                       de l’introspection

          où les « faucons de l’œil intérieur »

                                                                   plongent et meurent

revoyant dans leur chute fatale

                             tous les souvenirs

                                        d’une vie

      et traçant sur le ciel de plomb

                                     d’un grave coup d’aile à la craie

mille images entrelacées

                                             de vols

 

C’est la nuit l’« habitat naturel »

     de ces oiseaux-esprits aux ailes saignées à blanc

          de ces vols de pluviers

                                de gypaètes barbus

                                                d’oiseaux qui chantent aveugles

                                                            dans des champs de verre

     ces cygnes lunatiques et ces jars extasiés

                                                             aigrettes prises au piège

                                                  hiboux anthracite

                                                  symbole de tortue trottinante

  ces poissons roses dans la montagne

                                                  pies-grièche en quête d’un  nid

                        faux-bourdons

                                                  s’accouplant dans l’air

         parmi les lunes hallucinées

 

Et un oiseau masqué qui pêche

                                         dans un torrent doré

     et un ibis qui tête

                                     « à son propre sein »

         et un Pooka sauvage du Connemara

                                                         (grandeur nature)

 

Puis ces oiseaux muets soufflés par le vent

                      qui portent du poisson et des messages en papier

     entre deux ruisseaux

                                qui sont les fleuves jumeaux

                                                                            de l’oubli

         ou l’imagination

                                               retournant sur elle-même

                son regard blanc électrique

                                               se retrouve toujours aussi folle

                             et dénutrie

                                             parmi les hébrides

 

12

« Un de ces tableaux qui ne veulent pas mourir »

           son image belliqueuse

                                      une fois conçue

                ne décollait pas

                                      de sa base plombée

     et pourtant combien de fois

                                                 l’avait-il repoussé

                                                                        dans l’oubli

 

Inutile de peindre par-dessus

                     il resurgissait toujours

                                                                    par le bois de la toile

     et émergeant il lui criait

                                                          de terribles berceuses

           où dans chaque lit une tombe

                                     minée de réveils-matin fantomatiques

                         beuglait horriblement

                                                       sur les amants et les dormeurs

 

13

Non comme Dante

                     découvrant une commedia

                                                    sur les versants du paradis

 

c’est d’une autre sorte que je peindrais

                                           ce Paradiso

où les gens seraient nus

                                                comme ils le sont toujours

                                                                  dans ce genre de décor

                                                parce qu’il s’agit

                                                          de peindre leur âme

mais il n’y aurait pas d’anges anxieux pour leur dire

                           que l’Eden est

                                                 l’image même

                                                                         d’une monarchie

                      et aucun feu ne brûlerait

                                               dans les trous infernaux dessous

                                     où j’aurais pu trébucher

                           et dans le ciel nul autel rien

                                                 que des fontaines d’imagination

 

14

Ne laisse pas le cheval

                                manger ce violon

 

     criait la mère de Chagall

 

Mais lui

il continuait  quand même

à peindre

 

Et il est devenu célèbre

 

Et il a continué à peindre

                                      Le Cheval Avec Un Violon Dans la Bouche

 

Et quand il a fini par le finir

il a sauté sur le cheval

                                                    et s’en est allé

                en agitant le violon

 

Puis s’inclinant très bas il l’a donné

au premier nu dévêtu qu’il a rencontré

 

Désencordé

                                           en toute liberté

 

15

        Au risque constant de l’absurdité

                                                         et de la mort

                   dès qu’il lit

                                                     par-dessus les têtes

                                                                         de son public

 

     le poète comme un acrobate

                                     escalade la rime

                                                    sur une corde raide de sa façon

en équilibre sur les regards

                                          surplombant une mer de visages

                  il avance à son rythme

                                       d’un bout à l’autre de la journée

             avec des entrechats

                                             des tours de passe-pied

       et autres coups de théâtre

                                           et cependant sans jamais prendre

                                les choses                                               

                                               pour ce qu’elles ne sont pas

 

           Car il est super réaliste

                                            et doit à toute force percevoir

                        la dure vérité

                                   avant tout vers avant chaque pas

        dans son avancée supposée

                                            vers ce perchoir toujours plus haut

où la Beauté attend

                                    gravement

                                                             de faire le saut de l’ange

 

         Et lui

                      petit homme à la charlie chaplin

                                                       il attrapera ou non

                           sa forme éternelle et diaphane

                                                 les ailes déployées dans l’air vide

                                de l’existence

 

Traduit de l’anglais par Marianne Costa

In, Lawrence Ferlinghetti : « A Coney Island of the mind & autres poèmes »

Maelström éditions, Bruxelles (Belgique), 2008

 

Du même auteur : Un Coney Island de l’esprit (1 – 6) / A Coney Island of the mind (1 – 6) (19/01/2021)

 

 

 

A Coney Island of the mind (7 – 15)

 

7

What could she say to the fantastic foolybear

and what could she say to brother

and what could she say

                                     to the cat with future feet

and what could she say to mother

after that time the she lay lush

                                                among the lolly flowers

       on that hot riverbank

                  where ferns fell away in the broken air

                                of the breath of her lover

      and birds went mad

                                     and threw themselves from trees

to taste still hot upon the ground

                                                    the spilled sperm seed.

 

8

         In Golden gate Park that day

                                                     a man and his wife were coming along

           thru the enormous meadow

                                                      which was the meadow of the world

He was wearing green suspenders

                                                      and carrying an old beat-up flute

                                                                                                 in one hand

     while his wife had a bunch of grapes

                                                       which she kept handing out

                                                                                              individually

                                                               to various squirrels

                                                                                               as if each

                                                                      were a little joke

 

     And then the tow of them came on

                                                   thru the enormous meadow

which was the meadow of the world

                                                          and then

                 at a very still spot where the trees dreamed

             and seemed to have been waiting thru all time

                                                                                               for them

               they sat down together on the grass

                                                              without looking at each other

                    and ate oranges

                                          without looking at each other

                                                                                 and put the peels

                in a basket which they seemed

                                                                 to have brought for that purpose

                    without looking at each other

 

And then

             he took his shirt and undershirt off

        but kept his hat on

                                      sideways

                                                     and without saying anything

              fell asleep under it

                                            And his wife just sat there looking

at the birds which flew about

      calling to each other

                                      in the stilly air

as if they were questioning existence

                                or trying to recall something forgotten

 

But then finally

                    she too lay down flat

                                                   and just lay there looking up

                                                                                     at nothing

               yet fingering the old flute

                                                         which nobody played

                    and finally looking over

                                                          at him

           without any particular expression

                                                          except a certain awful look

                    of terrible depression

 

9

See

      it was like this when

                                  we waltz into this place

a couple of far out cats

                               is doing an Aztec two-step

 

And I says

                 Dad let’s cut

but then this dame

                       comes up behind me see

                                        and says

                            You and me could really exist

 

Wow I says

                   Only the next day

                        she has bad teeth

                                  and really hates

                                                           poetry

 

10 

                       I have not lain with beauty all my life    

                              telling over to myself

                                                        its most rife charms

 

   I have not lain with beauty all my life

                                                  and lied with it as well

                  telling over to myself

                                       how beauty never dies

                     but lies apart

                                    among the aborigines

                                                                     of art

                        and far above the battlefields

                                                                     of love


             It is above all that

                                         oh yes

       It sits upon the choicest of

                                                 Church seats

   up there where art directors meet

to choose the things for immortality

                                                         And they have lain with beauty

                                   all their lives

                                                   And they have fed on honeydew

            and drunk the wines of Paradise

                                                               so that they know exactly how

                  a thing of beauty is a joy

                        forever and forever

                                                       and how it never never

                               quite can fade

                                                     into a money-losing nothingness

 

   Oh no I have not lain

                                      on Beauty Rests like this

          afraid to rise at night

                                      for fear that I might somehow miss

some movement beauty might have made

 

      Yet I have slept with beauty

                                                  in my own weird way

and I have made a hungry scene or two

                                                              with beauty in my bed

    and so spilled out another poem or two

        and so spilled out another poem or two

                                                               upon the Bosch-like world

 

   

11

     The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves

           is not the same wild west

                                                   the white man found

It is a land that Buddha came upon

                                              from a different direction

    It is a wild white nest

                               in the true mad north

                                                                of introspection

            where ‘falcons of the inner eye’

                                                              dive and die

                      glimpsing in their dying fall

                                                  all life’s memory

                                                                of existence

               and with grave chalk wing

                                                draw upon the leaded sky

     a thousand threaded images

                                                 of flight

 

It is the night that is their ‘native habitat’

   these ‘spirit birds’ with bled white wings

            these droves of plover

                                bearded eagles

                                            blind birds singing

                                                             in glass fields

  these moonmad swans and ecstatic ganders

                                                                       trapped egrets

                                                   charcoal owls

                                                                      trotting turtle symbols

these pink fish among mountains

                                                     shrikes seeking to nest

                     whitebone drones

                                                 mating in air

          among hallucinary moons

 And a masked bird fishing

                                           in a golden stream

       and an ibis feeding

                                     ‘on its own breast’

             and a stray Connemara Pooka

                                                              (life size)

 

And then those blown mute birds

                                            bearing fish and paper messages

       between two streams

                                  which are the twin streams

                                                                           of oblivion

            wherein the imagination

                                              turning upon itself

               with white electric vision

                                             refinds itself still mad

                                and unfed

                                                among the hebrides

 

  12


  ‘One of those paintings that would not die’

        its warring image

                                    once conceived

           would not leave

                                     the leaded ground

    no matter how many times

                                              he hounded it

                                                                    into oblivion

 

Painting over it did no good

             It kept on coming through

                                                      the wood and canvas

     and as it came it cried at him

                                                   a terrible bedtime song

         wherein each bed a grave

                                                 mined with unearthly alarmclocks

                         hollered horribly

 

                                                   for lovers and sleepers 

 

    13

Not like Dante

                      discovering a commedia

                                                         upon the slopes of heaven

 

I would paint a different kind

                                           of Paradiso

in which the people would be naked

                                              as they always are

                                                                     in scenes like that

                                             because it is supposed to be

                                                                  a painting of their souls

but there would be no anxious angels telling them

                       how heaven is

                                            the perfect picture of

                                                                         a monarchy

                     and there would be no fires burning

                                           in the hellish holes below

                             in which I might have stepped

                    nor any altars in the sky except

                                                                fountains of imagination

 

    14

Don’t let that horse

                               eat that violin

 

     cried Chagall’s mother

 

                                         But he

                     kept right on

                                         painting

 

And became famous 

And kept on painting

                                 The Horse With Violin In Mouth

And when he finally finished it

he jumped up upon the horse

                                              and rode away

               waving the violin

 

And then with a low bow gave it

to the first naked nude he ran across

 

And there were no strings

                                         attached

 

      15

         Constantly risking absurdity

                                                      and death

                   whenever he performs

                                                     above the heads

                                                                           of his audience

 

      the poet like an acrobat

                                     climbs on rime

                                               to a high wire of his own making

and balancing on eyebeams

                                             above a sea of faces

                paces his way

                                    to the other side of day

       performing entrechats

                                      and sleight-of-foot tricks

   and other high theatrics

                                     and all without mistaking

                      any thing

                                    for what it may not be

 

          For he’s the super realist

                                        who must perforce perceive

                        taut truth

                                      before the taking of each stance or step

   in his supposed advance

                                        toward that still higher perch

where Beauty stands and waits

 

                                           with gravity

                                                       to start her death-defying leap

 

           And he

                     a little charleychaplin man

                                                   who may or may not catch

                       her fair eternal form

                                               spreadeagled in the empty air

                            of existence

 

 

A Coney Island of the mind

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco (USA),1958

Poème précédent en anglais :

Emily Jane Brontë : Brouillard léger sur la colline / Mild the mist upon the hill ‘06/01/2022)

Poème suivant en anglais :

Walt Whitman : Chanson de la piste ouverte /Song of the open road (28/01/2022)