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Selected Poems

Guillaume Apollinaire

Translated by Oliver Bernard

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Series: Poetica
Categories: 20th Century, French, Translation, War writings
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (176 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2004)
9780856463594
£11.95 £10.75
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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    May

    In May lovely May on a boat on the Rhine
    There were ladies looking from high on the mountain
    You are so very pretty but the boat glides past
    But who has made the willows weep on the river bank

    Now the flowering orchards stood frozen astern
    The petals fallen from the cherry trees in May
    Are the fingernails of her whom I loved so much
    And the faded petals are like her eyelids

    Along the road on the river bank slowly
    A bear a monkey and a dog led by gipsies
    Followed a caravan pulled by a donkey
    While amongst the vineyards of the Rhine valley
    A regimental tune on a fife passed away

    May lovely May has garlanded the ruins
    With ivy Virginia creeper and wild rose
    The wind of the Rhine stirs the willows on the bank
    And the whispering rushes and the naked vine flowers

    Translated by Oliver Bernard

    Apollinaire’s poetry reflects the heady years of artistic and intellectual ferment before the First World War. The most dynamic modernist French poet and the champion of the Cubist painters, he is remembered as much for his more traditional lyric poems as for the typographical experiments of his calligrammes. Subtle and complex, yet often direct, his poetry is still fresh and memorable.

    Guillaume Apollinaire
    Guillaume Apollinaire was born in Rome in 1880. Educated in Monaco and Nice, he became a French citizen only in 1916, after service in the artillery and infantry. He was badly wounded in the head in 1916, and died during the Paris flu epidemic in 1918. As prose writer and art ... read more
    Oliver Bernard
    Oliver Bernard, born in 1925, worked as an advisory teacher of drama, and was a director of the Speak a Poem Competition since its inception. He was a fine reader and in 2012 produced a second CD of his readings, Rimbaud, Whitman Etc . This also included his own sequence ... read more
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