Et le verbe s’est fait chair

poem268

In a previous post, I discussed at length my interests in the relationship of literature and the visual arts, and mentioned et le verbe s’est fait chair, a livre d’artiste done in collaboration with Francine Gravel. The publication, in 1975, marked the beginning of an ongoing friendship and collaboration. Francine is an accomplished painter, poet and print-maker widely collected in North America and Europe. At one point, in one of the many roles I played in this life, I owned an art gallery, and Francine was the very first artist to have a solo exhibition at Graphica (1976-1983). It was also Francine’s first solo show, so, needless to say, it was for both of us, of momentous importance.

As a livre d’artiste, et le verbe s’est fait chair was published in a limited edition of 25 copies and none of the work ever appeared anywhere else. Both Francine and I have agreed to share with you one of the original poems and a reproduction of the accompanying etching.

Phénix

ma nuit gorgée de givre
fouille la fulgurance de tes yeux
attisant le feu
l’été de vivre

mais le tam-tam de la vie
noue la solitude de nos deux corps
banquise et mort
dessus les cendres et puis l’envie

et l’éclair joue en ma mémoire
fondant le jour la nuit de glace
faisant le vide sur la place
pour te coucher sur mon grimoire

 

 

Phoenix

My frost-filled night
Searching your eyes flash
Stirring the ash
Summer of delight

But the tom-tom of life’s fire
Binds the solitude of our breath
Ice fields and death
Over embers then desire

Lightning plays in my mind
Dissolving in day the glacial night
Discovering absence of light
To lay with you the spells bind

Translation: Brenda Jackson)

 

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