La cour se fleurit de souci

Today we have a very interesting poem from Paul Verlaine, describing a group of men walking around a prison courtyard during their daily exercise period. This is not stated overtly but can be inferred from the descriptions of the people and of what the poet says about his own participation in this. The poem is mostly fairly sad but the final stanza seems to bring a kind of reconciliation between the poet and these unfortunate circumstances – a reconciliation which is probably helpful to coping with this situation.

The title is a bit mysterious, I can’t really make much of a connection between it and the rest of the poem.

Autre (Impression fausse)
Paul Verlaine

 
La cour se fleurit de souci
Comme le front
De tous ceux-ci
Qui vont en rond
En flageolant sur leur fémur
Débilité
Le long du mur
Fou de clarté.

Tournez, Samsons sans Dalila,
Sans Philistin,
Tournez bien la
Meule au destin.
Vaincu risible de la loi,
Mouds tour à tour
Ton coeur, ta foi
Et ton amour !

Ils vont ! et leurs pauvres souliers
Font un bruit sec,
Humiliés,
La pipe au bec.
Pas un mot ou bien le cachot
Pas un soupir,
Il fait si chaud
Qu’on croit mourir.

J’en suis de ce cirque effaré,
Soumis d’ailleurs
Et préparé
A tous malheurs.
Et pourquoi si j’ai contristé
Ton voeu têtu,
Société,
Me choierais-tu ?

Allons, frères, bons vieux voleurs,
Doux vagabonds,
Filous en fleurs,
Mes chers, mes bons,
Fumons philosophiquement,
Promenons-nous
Paisiblement :
Rien faire est doux.

Paul Verlaine, Parallèlement

From <http://www.poetica.fr/poeme-1246/paul-verlaine-autre-impression-fausse/&gt;

The opening line is quite striking – “the courtyard blooms with cares” the juxtaposition of an optimistic verb with a pessimistic noun, introducing nicely the progression of the poem from misery to peace.

The first three stanzas describe the poor inmates limping forlornly around the courtyard, ragged, downcast and humiliated. If they speak they will be thrown into solitary confinement. The day is hot.

In the fourth stanza the poet puts himself into the centre of this company, willing to submit to the misery of the circumstance. But then in the final stanza the poet realises that all is not so bad – the company can have a smoke, have a gentle stroll around and in fact, doing nothing can be very agreeable.

But of course you don’t have to be locked up to be able to do nothing.

The Poetry Dude

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