Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

10 November 2015

His Wheel Is A Mirror

In one of your English or art classes, you might have seen--or created--examples of "concrete poems".  They're the ones shaped like their subjects:

Il Pleut, by Guillaume Apollinaire, is one of the most famous of its type.  The text of it goes like this:

Il pleut des voix de femmes comme si elles étaient mortes même dans le souvenir

c'est vous aussi qu'il pleut merveilleuses rencontres de ma vie ô gouttelettes

et ces nuages cabrés se prennent à hennir tout un univers de villes auriculaires

écoute s'il pleut tandis que le regret et le dédain pleurent une ancienne musique

écoute tomber les liens qui te retiennent en haut et en bas

Here's a rough translation:

It's raining the voices of women as if they'd died even in memory

and it's raining you as well, the marvelous encounters of my life, O little drops

those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities

listen if it rains while disdain and regret weep to an ancient music

listen to the fall of chains that hold you above and below

Another one of Apollinaire's famous concrete poems is Coeur Couronne Miroir:

Here's the text:

 Mon Coeur pareil a une flamme renversee

Les rois qui meurent tour a tour
Reanaissent au couer des poets

Dans ce miroir je suis enclos vivant et vrai
Comme on imagine les anges
Et non comme sont les reflets

which, in English becomes Heart, Crown and Mirror:

My heart is like an inverted flame

The kings who have died one by one
Are reborn in poets' hearts

In this mirror I am captured alive and true
The way you imagine angels
And not only as a reflection.

I couldn't find anything that would hint at whether or not Apollinaire was a cyclist. Given the time and places in which he lived, however, I imagine he rode a bike for at least some time in his life. 

From Strange Vehicles

If he'd written a concrete poem about a bicycle, would he have said the wheels were mirrors of his heart?  Or would it have been like this?:

By Anwar Choukah

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