Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poetry on Walls - Rimbaud's Poem on a Wall in Rue Férou

If you take a stroll along Rue Férou in Paris, you will see the poem Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891) painted on a wall. The location is quite significant; it is close to the location where Rimbaud at the tender age of seventeen recited it first.

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,
Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs.

(When I was drifting along the calm Rivers,
I no longer felt guided by the bargemen:
The gaudy Redskins used then as targets,
And nailed them naked to the colorful totem pole)

It is the first mural poem outside of the Netherlands. The project “Poems on Walls” started in the university town of Leiden way back in 1992 with a poem of the Russian poetess Marina Tsvetajeva. It was the first of many poets written by i.e. Shakespeare, Lodeizen, Verlaine, Rilke, Yeats, Achterberg, Nijhoff, Claus, Szymborska, and Lucebert. The project ended in 2005 with the poem De Profundis by Garcia Lorca.

The Paris mural poem was painted by Jan Willem Bruins and unveiled on June, 14 as part of the annual Marché de la Poésie, where all French editors of poetry meet. The 30e Marché de La Poésie de St-Sulpice took place 14-17 June 2012.

If you want to read the full 100-lines poem (hand painted by Jan Willem Bruins) go to Rue Férou a small street that runs between the Place Saint Sulpice and Jardin de Luxembourg in the 6th Arrondissement de Paris

Always be a poet, even in prose
- Charles Baudelaire


Vera said...

I took a photo of M. Bruins painting this poem on the wall. Seeing him doing this was one of the best moments of my two week visit to France in May, 2012. Thank you for explaining his purpose and for identifying the poem. -Vera Orthlieb, Wallingford, PA

Debra Daumier said...

That's so cool!