An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone

Initially released in 1992, this bilingual anthology represents the energy, variety, and originality with which the Symbolist circulation used to be grafted in Belgium. Cultivating an aesthetics of hallucination and spatial paradigms of the internal global, the fin de siècle Belgian poets reworked the canal towns and landscapes in their place of origin into lasting magnets of the mind's eye. The Belgian Symbolist poems are vessels of passage to visionary geographical regions, demonstrating the permeability of internal and outer truth.

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Extra info for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library)

Example text

The water whispers more softly beneath the arch Of the ancient bridges; It seems to be praying with its sighs, But for what? page 18 Donald Flanell Friedman: Belgian Symbolism, an Anthology page 19 Georges Rodenbach Le sable mou du fond s’éboule comme si C’était le sablier bouleversé de l’Heure; Et quelquefois aussi, sur le cristal transi, Un monstre flasque, en trouble imagerie, affleure, Cependant que l’eau souffre, en paraissant dormir, Et sent passer, dans sa morose léthargie, Mille ombres dont elle ne cesse de frémir Qui font de sa surface une plaie élargie!

Bridges of bronze, where the carts Crash and burst in endless din, And the sails of somber boats, Cast upon her their trail of shadows. Without a clock-hand moving across its dial, A mighty bell-tower, masked in red, Stares at her, like someone Immensely sunk in sorrow and death. She knew too much to live any longer, She longed too much to shape the truth, Enthroned on the pedestal of black rocks, Of every breath and every shadow. And now, she is atrociously dead, Of a venomous elixir, distilled by destiny, Dead, as well, of a delirious desire, For the most absurd, scarlet kingdom.

They watch the evening Grow in their room and lengthen the facades. Nearby, a church looms and holds high its black belfry. Dead hour, over there, somewhere in the provinces, In an extinguished town, in some unknown corner Where the walls are clad in mourning and portals, Where grinds the monumental hinge, like a clenched fist of iron. Sallow and alone, the inscrutable ill, Like dismal, old wolves, fix death with their gaze; They have consumed their lives, since all days are the same, They will hate those months and years that will bring their sad end.

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