Menu
Search

Les tournesols Posted by on Aug 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

Bonjouuuuuuur les amis! Je vous dois (I owe you) les bonnes réponses(the right answers) to the quiz des fleursfrom Thursday.

Flower Vocabulary Match-Up Quiz Answers

English                                    Français

  1. Tulip                               g. tulipe
  2. Rose                                    k. rose
  3. Carnation                        e. oeillet
  4. Sunflower                        i. tournesol
  5. Buttercup                        a. bouton d’or
  6. Daffodil                        b. jonquille
  7. Lily                                    j. lis
  8. Daisy                                    l. marguerite / pâquerette
  9. Geranium                        c. géranium
  10. Lilac                                    d. lilas
  11. Peony                                    f. pivoine
  12. Sweet William                        h. oeillet de poète

I think I like bouton d’or (buttercup- literally, “gold button”) and tournesol (sunflower- literally, “turn sun,” because they twist to face the sun) best. Et vous?

I was buying groceries last night (je faisais les courses) and I seriously considered skipping dinner to buy un bouquet de tournesols, because they were so beautiful. In August, all of Provence is probably covered in sunflowers, whole fields of them glowing gold. Since we’re not there, we can revel in la saison des tournesols in other ways.

Sunflowers inspired some of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous canvases, now recognized all over the world. In 1987, an auction price of more than $39 million ($77 million in 2010 prices) set a record for most expensive piece of art ever sold. The sunflower series were mainly painted in Arles, an ancient city in southern Provence. While the Arlésiens weren’t thrilled to have this “fou roux”(red-headed madman) in their city and eventually drove him out, the city is now mecca for van Gogh fans.

Van Gogh is not the only artist to have celebrated la fleur: surrealist André Breton wrote a poem called Tournesol that is a slightly less literal interpretation of the flower than van Gogh’s tableaux.

Tournesol

La voyageuse qui traverse les Halles à la tombée de l’été
Marchait sur la pointe des pieds
Le désespoir roulait au ciel ses grands arums si beaux
Et dans le sac à main il y avait mon rêve ce flacon de sels
Que seule a respiré la marraine de Dieu
Les torpeurs se déployaient comme la buée
Au Chien qui fume
Ou venaient d’entrer le pour et le contre
La jeune femme ne pouvait être vue d’eux que mal et de biais
Avais-je affaire à l’ambassadrice du salpêtre
Ou de la courbe blanche sur fond noir que nous appelons pensée
Les lampions prenaient feu lentement dans les marronniers
La dame sans ombre s’agenouilla sur le Pont-au-Change
Rue Git-le-Coeur les timbres n’étaient plus les mêmes
Les promesses de nuits étaient enfin tenues
Les pigeons voyageurs les baisers de secours
Se joignaient aux seins de la belle inconnue
Dardés sous le crêpe des significations parfaites
Une ferme prospérait en plein Paris
Et ses fenêtres donnaient sur la voie lactée
Mais personne ne l’habitait encore à cause des survenants
Des survenants qu’on sait plus devoués que les revenants
Les uns comme cette femme ont l’air de nager
Et dans l’amour il entre un peu de leur substance
Elle les interiorise
Je ne suis le jouet d’aucune puissance sensorielle
Et pourtant le grillon qui chantait dans les cheveux de cendres
Un soir près de la statue d’Etienne Marcel
M’a jeté un coup d’oeil d’intelligence
André Breton a-t-il dit passe

 

Translation by Mark Polizzotti:

The traveler who crossed Les Halles at summer’s end

Walked on tiptoe

Despair rolled its great handsome lilies across the sky

And in her handbag was my dream that flask of salts

That only God’s godmother had breathed

Torpors unfurled like mist

At the Chien qui Fume

Where pro and con had just entered

They could hardly see the young woman and then only at an angle

Was I dealing with the ambassadress of saltpeter

Or with the white curve on black background we call thought

The Innocents’ Ball was in full swing

The Chinese lanterns slowly caught fire in chestnut trees

The shadowless lady knelt on the Pont-au-Change

On Rue Gît-le-Coeur the stamps had changed

The night’s promises had been kept at last

The carrier pigeons and emergency kisses

Merged with the beautiful stranger’s breasts

Jutting beneath the crepe of perfect meanings

A farm prospered in the heart of Paris

And its windows looked out on the Milky Way

But no one lived there yet because of the guests

Guests who are known to be more faithful than ghosts

Some like that woman appear to be swimming

And a bit of their substance becomes part of love

She internalizes them

I am the plaything of no sensory power

And yet the cricket who sang in hair of ash

One evening near the statue of Etienne Marcel

Threw me a knowing glance

Andre Breton it said pass

Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it