Initially released in 1992, this bilingual anthology represents the vigour, range, and originality with which the Symbolist flow was once grafted in Belgium. Cultivating an aesthetics of hallucination and spatial paradigms of the internal international, the fin de siècle Belgian poets reworked the canal towns and landscapes in their native land 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 resources for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library)
Nous sommes tous les deux la tristesse d’un port: Toi, ville! toi ma soeur douloureuse qui n’as Que du silence et le regret des anciens mâts; Moi, dont la vie aussi n’est qu’un grand canal mort! “La chambre triste et lasse . ” from Les Vies Encloses La chambre triste et lasse est enﬁn résignée Et s’abandonne au soir qui, sournois, s’insinue: La chambre a l’air plus grande, a l’air aussi plus nue; L’ombre a tissé ses ﬁls de toile d’araignée Dans les angles, d’abord plus obscurs, du plafond. Elle fane les étoffes, elle les fonce; Dans le miroir blêmi, les reﬂets se défont Comme d’une Ophélie en larmes qui s’enfonce; Et les plis des rideaux ressemblent aux ornières Très profondes des vieux chemins d’un vieux pays.
But this is the very picture of human sleep, Where, in the water of the mind, believed drained and bare, Submarine dreams are ceaselessly underway, An entire occult life, which is never ending. “The long line of streetlamps . ” from The Mirror of the Native Sky The long line of streetlamps Have lit their pensive lights, Daily, as expected, Forming a play of silent shadows, That come and go. Does the City sicken At evening? You would think that it was growing darker; Then wind seems to be lamenting Someone who will never again be cured; A little bell rings The last angelus; The air is resonant, because of the silence; The poplars, holding their leaves still, Are afraid of making noise; And the passers-by mufﬂe their steps in a mist, As if in a chamber, at the bedside .
Au long des funèbres murailles, Au long des usines de fer Dont les marteaux tannent l’éclair, Elle se traîne aux funérailles. Ce sont des quais et des casernes, Des quais toujours et leurs lanternes, Immobiles et lentes ﬁlandières Des ors obscurs de leurs lumières; 35 Donald Flanell Friedman: Belgian Symbolism, an Anthology 36 an anthology of belgian symbolist poets There reigns a sadness of rock, Houses of brick, black turrets, Where the windows, mournful eyelids, Open to the mists of evenings.