Go figure

10 July 2013 § Leave a comment

10 July

The first fig has shown signs of purpling.  As I expected the figs to be in swinging season a month ago, this is grand news indeed and actually trumps my original plan of probing the correspondences* between Plato’s Gorgias and President Obama’s/the Washington minions’s oratorical practises.  Discussing politics proves enjoyable and fruitful only with a philosophical precedent.  Fear not, though, this discussion will appear in a later post—perhaps after I’ve improved my understanding by reading The Republic and Symposium.

Anatomy of a fig

*Perhaps this use of the word only really works in French?  cf. Beaudelaire’s Correspondances.  An uncomfortable intimacy with this poem arose after I first studied it in class a few years ago and then again whilst in Aix.  Leaving France, I decided to read French every day, a resolution which lasted only until I finished Les Fleurs du mal and dissolved into a state of indecision, possibly prompted by a spiritual flailing and darkening that les fleurs effected, about what to read next.  La Princesse des Clèves?  Le chef-d’œuvre inconnu?  The rest of Germinal?  Spring semester began, and the civil rights movement ousted French poetry.  Here is the poem and several translations.

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,
Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
— Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,

Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,
Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,
Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

Methinks 'tis a carnivorous flower

Methinks ’tis a carnivorous flower

Only the French can write about perfume fresh like the flesh of children and not sound creepy.

He's hiding some fleurs du mal in that coat.

He’s hiding some fleurs du mal in that coat.

Only joking, it is definitely creepy.

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