Sep 6, 2010

Street art in Paris

One of the things that I love about Paris is that there is art, art everywhere. Paris is art… from the magnificent and mind blowing, like the tower, the beautiful parks, palaces, and fountains; to the small and heart-warming, like the mural in the picture below. The mural is located at the end of the Rue Mouffetard, where the street becomes Rue Descartes… it’s a very lively small street with market, bars, restaurants, some people doing massages for free, and you can also get roasted chicken for a not inexpensive price. It’s actually very close to where I live.

Rue Mouffetard Rue Descartes muralStreet Tree

The mural consist of a painting and a poem; the painting is by Pierre Alechinsky, a Belgium artist born in 1927 and still alive, he lived in Paris sometime. The poem was written by Yves Bonnefoy, a French poet born in 1923, also alive today. I don’t know what’s the story of the mural, why it was made and what’s the relation between these two old men… but they do know each other since they published a book together called: Alechinsky, les traversées.

Both the painting and the poem are about the street tree. The poem says loosely: passer-by, check out this great tree, and through it, it may be enough. And although torn apart, dirty, the street tree is all nature and all the sky. The bird lays on it, the wind sways it, the sun sings it hope despite death. Philosopher, are you lucky enough to have the tree in your street? Your thoughts will be less arduous, your eyes freer, your hands more willing of less night…

It’s a beautiful poem, I like it very much; although the last sentence doesn’t really make much sense, not even in French, I would say. But well… who cares, that’s one of the privileges of being a poet, you can write non-sense and make it seem like something very deep, seriously.

If you can provide me with a better translation into English or Spanish, please send it to me. I’ll be glad to improve mine!

Here’s the actual poem:

regarde ce grand arbre,
et à travers lui
il peut suffire.

Car même déchiré, souillé,
l'arbre des rues,
c'est toute la nature,
tout le ciel,
l'oiseau s'y pose,
le vent y bouge, le soleil
y dit le même espoir malgré
la mort.

as-tu chance d'avoir l'arbre
dans ta rue,
tes pensées seront moins ardues,
tes yeux plus libres,
tes mains plus désireuses
de moins de nuit.

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