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POEM OF THE MONTH; August / September 2020
Je ne chante jamais que lorsque mes huit griffes
Ont trouvé, sarclant l’herbe et chassant les cailloux,
La place où je parviens jusqu’au tuf noir et doux !
Alors, mis en contact avec la bonne terre,
Je chante ! … et c’est déjà la moitié du mystère,
Faisane, la moitié du secret de mon chant …
Qui n’est pas de ces chants qu’on chante en les cherchant,
Mais qu’on reçoit du sol natal, comme une sève !
Et l’heure où cette sève, en moi, surtout, s’élève,
L’heure où j’ai du génie, enfin, où j’en suis sûr,
C’est l’heure où l’aube hésite au bord du ciel obscur.
Alors, plein d’un frisson de feuilles et de tiges
Qui se prolonge jusqu’au bout de mes rémiges,
Je me sens nécessaire, et j’accentue encor
Ma cambrure de trompe et ma courbe de cor ;
La Terre parle en moi comme dans une conque ;
Et je deviens, cessant d’être un oiseau quelconque,
Le porte-voix en quelque sorte officiel
Par quoi le cri du sol s’échappe vers le ciel !
'Chantecler', Act Two, Scene Three
Rostand's cockerel hero, Chantecler, is in love with the exotic hen pheasant which has just arrived in his farmyard. He has owned to her his secret: he believes it is his song that causes the sun to rise over his farm and his valley. Here, in the first of a succession of lyrical speeches, he relates how he prepares to sing, as he becomes, he feels, the voice of the earth and its creatures as they yearn for the sun to rise and a new day to commence.
'Rémiges': the long flight feathers at the edge of a bird's wing.
'Une conque': conch shell.
Earlier 'Poems of the Month' are available on request to Genge Press.
Please scroll down further for links to the other pages.
Et ce cri qui monte de la Terre,
Ce cri, c’est un tel furieux cri d’amour pour la lumière,
C’est un si furieux et grondant cri d’amour
Pour cette chose d’or qui s’appelle le Jour,
Et que tout veut ravoir : le pin sur ses écorces,
Les sentiers soulevés par des racines torses
Sur leurs mousses, l’avoine en ses brins délicats
Et les moindres cailloux dans leurs moindre micas ;
C’est tellement le cri de tout ce qui regrette
Sa couleur, son reflet, sa flamme, son aigrette
Ou sa perle ; le cri suppliant par lequel
Le pré mouillé demande un petit arc-en-ciel
A chaque pointe verte, et la forêt mendie
Au bout de chaque allée obscure un incendie ;
Ce cri, qui vers l’azur monte en me traversant,
C’est tellement le cri de tout ce qui se sent
Comme mis en disgrâce au fond d’un vague abîme
Et puni de soleil sans savoir pour quel crime ;
Le cri de froid, le cri de peur, le cri d’ennui
De tout ce que désarme ou désœuvre la Nuit ;
De la rose tremblant, dans le noir, toute seule ;
Du foin qui veut sécher pour aller dans la meule ;
Des outils oubliés dehors par les faucheurs
Et qui vont se rouiller dans l’herbe ; des blancheurs
Qui sont lasses de ne pas être éblouissantes ;
This poem is a continuation of the great speech in Act Two of Chantecler, where the cockerel hero is describing to the golden pheasant how he, as he believes, makes the sun rise over his valley. In one extended sentence, as if he was holding his breath, Chantecler pours out his soul in a crescendo of excitement, as he builds up to the moment where the sun finally rises. This final part of this speech will appear in October's 'Poem of the Month'.
'son aigrette': a bird's crest or plume;
'un incendie': a bright light, as if at the end of a tunnel.
the play by French poet-dramatist Edmond Rostand, is famous all over the world. Edmond Rostand was born in Marseilles, France, on 1st April 1868 and died in Paris on 2nd December 1918. Genge Press has set up this web site in 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edmond Rostand’s death and the 150th anniversary of his birth
ABOUT SUE LLOYD
Sue Lloyd (Susan M.Lloyd, née Emmerson) gained her honours degree in French at Bristol University in 1964 and then trained and worked as a teacher, in this country and in East Africa. She gained a master's degree at the University of East Anglia for her M Phil thesis: “Edmond Rostand’s Success: Cyrano de Bergerac” before editing major new editions of Roget’s Thesaurus for Longman and Penguin Books (1982, 1984). While continuing to work as an editor and lexicographer, Sue continued her research into Edmond Rostand and his work. The result was her biography of Rostand: The Man who was Cyrano, a Life of Edmond Rostand, Creator of "Cyrano de Bergerac", published in the USA in 2003 and in the UK in 2007.
As the British authority on Edmond Rostand and his work, Sue has contributed talks and/or programme notes to UK productions of Cyrano de Bergerac at the National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, as well as programme notes for the Royal Opera House’s production of Franco Alfano’s opera Cyrano de Bergerac. Her essays on Edmond Rostand himself, his play Chantecler, and Cyrano de Bergerac, are available to universities and colleges worldwide on the online Literary Encyclopedia, www.litencyc.com. Sue was honoured to be invited to take part in the conference at the Rostand museum, Villa Arnaga, at Cambo-les-bains, on the occasion of Chantecler’s centenary in 2010. In September 2018 she took part in the conference at Arnaga to celebrate Rostand's double anniversary: 150 years since his birth and 100 years since his death from the Spanish flu in December 2018.
SCROLL DOWN FURTHER TO READ ABOUT OUR TRANSLATIONS OF ROSTAND'S PLAYS
and for the latest Rostand news
as well as our Poem of the Month from Rostand's writings
Earlier Poems of the Month are available from Genge Press
Genge Press was set up in 2003 by Sue Lloyd to publish books about Edmond Rostand and his work, and also translations of his plays. Each book has a page of its own on this web site. The links are at the bottom of this page, so please scroll all the way down.
Don't miss our new feature, Poem of the Month! See below.
To see our other titles, including local history, please check out our earlier site, www.gengepress.co.uk. That web site also has a much more comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Edmond Rostand, and also a bibliography of plays by our own British poet dramatist, Christopher Fry.
VIST OUR SISTER SITE
Great-grand-mother Mary Ann Genge
POEM OF THE MONTH; September 2020
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GENGE PRESS TITLE
All Genge Press titles may be purchased from Genge Press. If you live in the UK or wish to pay in pounds sterling, please send us your name and address, along with a cheque, payable to “Sue Lloyd”, for the correct amount, including postage. We also accept all major currencies via the secure PayPal server.
© 2018 . The Genge Press. All Rights Reserved
All Genge Press titles may be purchased via booksellers or direct from Genge Press. We send our books all over the world and accept all major currencies via the secure PayPal server. A personal cheque is acceptable if you live in the UK. You can also pay by bank transfer. Just send your request and your address to email@example.com and I will get back to you without delay.
To enjoy this site fully please view on your desktop/Laptop
To keep up-to-date with the latest news from France, see Thomas Sertillanges's
web site: www.cyranodebergerac.fr.
See also www.edmond-rostand.com, Philippe Bulinge's information about the performances in France of Rostand's work.
ALERT: TWO NEW PRODUCTIONS OF "Cyrano de Bergerac" to see in the UK this winter of 2019!
Already playing to enthusiastic reviews at the Bristol Old Vic is Peter Oswald's version in verse, starring Tristan Sturrock as Cyrano, directed by Tom Morris. This production runs from 12th October to 16th November, and I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself on 14th November.
In London, the Playhouse Theatre is offering their production, directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring James McAvoy as Cyrano, from 3rd December (previews) until 29th February 2020.
I was at the premiere on 7th December, and the whole (mainly young where I was sitting) audience rose and cheered or clapped at the end. I do urge you to see this amazing production, which, though in modern language (with copious swearing), really brings alive Rostand's play for today's audiences. I felt the whole cast, as well as the director, really loved the play and wanted to share it with everyone. The lively verse translation by Martin Crimp, with much added material and some rap, really worked well. Do see it if you can!
Earlier news: 2018: The web site for the Museum of Musical History, www.MOMH.org.uk, marked the centenary of Edmond Rostand’s death on 2nd December 1918, by devoting its ‘Image of the Month’ page in December to his connections with music. The page is illustrated and features my essay on the numerous pieces of music inspired by Rostand and his works.
The page is still available on the MOMH web site.
GENGE PRESS PUBLICATIONS UPDATE
Our translations, " The Last Night of Don Juan" and
"The Woman of Samaria", are now available on Kindle,
presently priced at £2.64 and £2.80 respectively
2018 COLLOQUE AT VILLA ARNAGA, Cambo-les-bains, France
The Colloque took place in September at Arnaga, Rostand’s villa, now a museum in his memory. Over twenty Rostand researchers from universities all over France (and beyond) lectured on aspects of Edmond Rostand’s work. My own contribution, «Amour sacré et amour profane dans le théâtre de Rostand », explored this topic in relation to "La Samaritaine" and "La Dernière Nuit de Don Juan".
UPDATE ON THE COLLOQUE AT ARNAGA IN 2018: the lectures delivered are about to be published, so watch this space! Update: now promised for 2020.
AUX ÉLÈVES DU COLLÈGE STANISLAUS, le 3 mars, 1898
Invited back to his old school to address the students, after the triumph of Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand spoke to them in verse.
The verses quoted below are four out of twenty-one verses. They conclude with the final two verses.
The whole poem can be found in Rostand’s Le Cantique de l’aile (Paris: Fasquelle, 1922).
Monsieur de Bergerac est mort ; je le regrette.
Ceux qui l’imiteraient seraient origineaux.
C’est la grâce aujourd’hui, qu’à tous je vous souhaite.
Voilà mon conseil de poète:
Soyez de petits Cyranos.
S’il fait nuit, battez-vous à tâtons contre l’ombre,
Criez éperdument, lorsque c’est mal : C’est mal !
Soyez pour la beauté, soyez contre le nombre !
Rappelez vers la plage sombre
Le flot chantant de l’Idéal !
Et c’est pourquoi je vous demande de panache !
Cambrez-vous. Poitrinez ! Marchez. Marquez le pas.
Tout ce que vous pensez, soyez fiers qu’on le sache,
Et retroussez votre moustache,
Même si vous n’en avez pas !
Ne connaissez jamais la peur d’être risibles ;
On peut faire sonner le talon des aïeux
Même sur des trottoirs modernes et paisibles.
Et les éperons invisibles
Sont ceux-là qui tintent le mieux !
Lines spoken to the students of the Collège Stanislas, March 1898
Monsieur de Bergerac is dead, I’m sorry to say.
Those who imitate him would be original.
It is a quality I wish for you all today.
Here is my advice for you as a poet:
Be little Cyranos.
If it is night, fight your way bit by bit out of the dark;
When something is wrong, shout out: “This is wrong!”
Stand up for beauty, stand out against the crowd!
Call back to the gloomy shore
The swelling song of Idealism!
This is why I ask you for panache!
Put your shoulders back and stick out your chest.
March and keep in step.
Be proud for people to know your thoughts.
Twirl your moustache, even if you haven’t got one!
Never be afraid of seeming ridiculous.
Even in our modern peaceful streets,
You can make the heels of your ancestors resound.
And it is invisible spurs that ring out the loudest.
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© 2018 . The Genge Press. All Rights Reserved