Paul-Jean Toulet, French poet

Paul-Jean Toulet (1867-1920) was a French poet. Don’t worry : he’s completely forgotten in France.

He wrote a delicious novel called “My Friend Nane”, and also Les Contrerimes, very short poems.

I offer you this one :

The evening coolness — as if filtered through
An emerald — brings your knees together, pressed,
And so you seem less nude. But, entre nous,
Your husband would say: “Just look at how you’re dressed!”

Cette fraîcheur du soir, qu’on dirai que tamise
Une émeraude, a fait se joindre tes genoux,
Et tu sembles moins nue ainsi. Mais entre nous,
Ton mari te dirait: “Comme vous voilà mise.


Toulet is free, and naughty, light, but always a bit melancholic…


Across the night’s hollow,
O sea, you whom I sense quiver
Like the breast of a lover
Turning on her pillow;

The heavy wind strikes the bluff…
What! If the mocking dart
Of a siren is in my heart –
O heart, divine rebuff.

What, no more tears,
Since no one heeds…
Quietly, like a heart that bleeds,
The rain appears.

Ô mer, toi que je sens frémir
À travers la nuit creuse,
Comme le sein d’ une amoureuse
Qui ne peut pas dormir ;

Le vent lourd frappe la falaise…
Quoi ! Si le chant moqueur
D’ une sirène est dans mon coeur-
Ô coeur, divin malaise.

Quoi, plus de larmes, ni d’ avoir
Personne qui vous plaigne…
Tout bas, comme d’ un flanc qui saigne,
Il s’ est mis à pleuvoir.

One more ?

Iris, with her brilliant pall
Lights with seven fires dancing
The gentle rain, advancing,

Ah, on the summer roses
Drape the shimmering train,
And veil, soft rain,
Their arid poses.

And you, whose joyous cries
Concealed such fears
May I at last see tears
Fill your eyes

Iris, à son brillant mouchoir,
De sept feux illumine
La molle averse qui chemine,
Harmonieuse à choir.

Ah, sur les roses de l’ été,
Sois la mouvante robe,
Molle averse, qui me dérobe
Leur aride beauté

Et vous, dont le rire joyeux
M’ a caché tant d’ alarmes,
Puissé-je voir enfin des larmes
Monter jusqu’ à vos yeux.

Iris is the rainbow, of course…


A last one, the best for me :


We lightly touch as I awake

      in the wide, untidy bed;

what faithless dream is in her head

      that has her tremble, shake?

A sharp, thin ray of sunlight burns

      the ceiling like a shard.

Outside, down in the yard

      I hear the scrape of churns.

Dans le lit vaste et dévasté

      J’ ouvre les yeux près d’ elle ;

Je l’ effleure : un songe infidèle

      L’ embrasse à mon côté.

Une lueur tranchante et mince

      Échancre mon plafond.

Très loin, sur le pavé profond,

      J’ entends un seau qui grince…


Thanks for reading!

You can buy me a coffee!










Paul Valéry, a poem about the thinker & the sea

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame —
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!

Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes,
Entre les pins palpite, entre les tombes;
Midi le juste y compose de feux
La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée
O récompense après une pensée
Qu’un long regard sur le calme des dieux!


Translation impossible, as usual. This verse : “La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée”. Why not “That sea forever starting and re-starting”. I also found “The sea, the ever renewing sea!”. The truth is it’s “The sea, the sea, always rebegun”

O reward after a thought, staring longly on gods quietness…


André Breton Poem : “The sexual eagle exults he will gild the earth once more…

The sexual eagle exults he will gild the earth once more
his descending wing
his ascending wing sways imperceptibly the sleeves of the peppermint
and all the water’s adorable undress
Days are counted so clearly
that the mirror has yielded to a froth of fronds
of the sky i see but one star
now around us there is only the milk describing its dizzy ellipsis
from which sometimes soft intuition with pupils of eyed agate
rises to poke its umbrella tip in the mud of the electric light
then great reaches cast anchor stretch out in the depths of my closed eyes
icebergs radiating the customs of all the worlds yet to come
bron from a fragment of you fragment unkown and iced on the wing
your existence the giant bouquet escaping from my arms
is badly tied it didgs out walls unrolls the stairs of houses
loses its leaves in the show windows of the street
to gether the news i am always leaving to gather the news
the newspaper is glass today and if letters no longer arrive
it’s that the train has been consumed
the great incision of the emerald which gaave birth to the foliage
is scarred for always the sawdust of blinding snow
and the quarries of flesh are sounding along on the first shelf
reversed on this shelf
i take the impression of death and life
to the liquid air

André Breton


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Birdy Animal, another quickquirk poem

I saw an animal in my house…

I think it’s a bird

It has two wings you can see

Above its head

It can fly for sure

Proof is : it was on the floor

And suddenly on my bed

This bird has a long tail

A feather it is

The wings work with an engine

I can hear the engine in the bird

On the bed in front of me

Purr… purr…

“La bise”, another quickquirk poem

This continuous icy quiet wind

Who enterslips in your neck

Encolding your deepest bones

We call it “La Bise”

She makes the sun stands wrongly like a nothing

A dewarmed light a cold useless bulb

The sky is blue but the snow can not melt on the bench

I took this pic of proud snowballs

Then went back home walking and grinning

Behind tall windows

On the bed

In the sun magically warmed back

For a happy dreamy nappy-nap

There, I heared a silver laugh


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