Le mai le joli mai en barque sur le Rhin

Here is a poem for the month of May from Guillaume Apollinaire, appropriately titled, “Mai”. Looks like he was on a springtime cruise down the Rhine when he wrote this. Very nice.


Le mai le joli mai en barque sur le Rhin
Des dames regardaient du haut de la montagne
Vous êtes si jolies mais la barque s’éloigne
Qui donc a fait pleurer les saules riverains ?
Or des vergers fleuris se figeaient en arrière
Les pétales tombés des cerisiers de mai
Sont les ongles de celle que j’ai tant aimée
Les pétales fleuris sont comme ses paupières
Sur le chemin du bord du fleuve lentement
Un ours un singe un chien menés par des tziganes
Suivaient une roulotte traînée par un âne
Tandis que s’éloignait dans les vignes rhénanes
Sur un fifre lointain un air de régiment
Le mai le joli mai a paré les ruines
De lierre de vigne vierge et de rosiers
Le vent du Rhin secoue sur le bord les osiers
Et les roseaux jaseurs et les fleurs nues des vignes

Guillaume Apollinaire, Alcools, 1913

From <http://www.poetica.fr/poeme-781/guillaume-apollinaire-mai/&gt;

Like many a romantic before him, Apollinaire sees or imagines, women watching over his journey along the river from the overlooking mountains. Are they real or spirits? It really doesn’t matter, as it inspires the poet to look at and appreciate the riverside scenery, the trees, plants and flowers beginning to bloom in the month of May.

Continuing the romantic imagery, we have the gypsy band with its bear, monkey, and dog travelling along the side of the river; and somebody playing a pipe while walking through the vineyards. All very pleasant.

This is a poem entirely without angst or deep thoughts about life, love, death or the questions of philosophy. Its good to have a pleasant, undemanding piece of verse from time to time.

The Poetry Dude


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