fernando pessoa – 27, from the book of disquiet

Literature – which is art married to thought, and realization untainted by reality – seems to me the end towards which all human effort would have to strive, if it were truly human and not just a welling up of our animal self. To express something is to conserve its virtue and take away its terror. Fields are greener in their description than in their actual greenness.

Flowers, if described with phrases that define them in the air of the imagination, will have colours with a durability not found in cellular life. What moves lives. What is said endures. There’s nothing in life that’s less real for having been well described. Small-minded critics point out that such-and-such poem, with its protracted cadences, in the end says merely that it’s a nice day. But to say it’s a nice day is difficult, and the nice day itself passes on. It’s up to us to conserve the nice day in a wordy, florid memory, sprinkling new flowers and new stars over the fields and skies of the empty, fleeting outer world.

Everything is what we are, and everything will be, for those who come after us in the diversity of time, what we will have intensely imagined – what we, that is, by embodying our imagination, will have actually been. The grand, tarnished panorama of History amounts, as I see it, to a flow of interpretations, a confused consensus of unreliable eyewitness accounts. The novelist is all of us, and we narrate whenever we see, because seeing is complex like everything.

Right now I have so many fundamental thoughts, so many truly metaphysical things to say that I suddenly feel tired, and I’ve decided to write no more, think no more. I’ll let the fever of saying put me to sleep instead, and with closed eyes I’ll stroke, as if petting a cat, all that I might have said.

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From The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa), a work by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Published posthumously, The Book of Disquiet is a fragmentary lifetime project, left unedited by the author, who introduced it as a “factless autobiography.”

au revoir, jeanne moreau (1928 – 2017)

From Jules et Jim (Directed by François Truffaut, 1962), the song “Le Tourbillon”. The film was directed by François Truffaut and released on January 23, 1962. This song of Cyrus “Boris” Bassiak [aka Serge Rezvani] is interpreted by Catherine [Jeanne Moreau]. Albert on guitar, is none other than songwriter Bassiak / Rezvani. Other roles:
Jules [the short one with blond hair]: Oskar Werner
Jim [the tall one with white shirt]: Henri Serre

According to Wikipedia Rezvani actually wrote this song seven years before, in reference to the couple formed by Jeanne Moreau and his companion at the time, Jean-Louis Richard, who was also Serge’s best friend.

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Elle avait des bagues à chaque doigt, (She had rings on every finger)
Des tas de bracelets autour des poignets, (A profusion of bracelets on her wrists)
Et puis elle chantait avec une voix (And she was singing with such a voice)
Qui sitôt m’enjôla. (That I was at once under her spell)

Elle avait des yeux, des yeux d’opale (She had eyes, eyes of opal)
Qui fascinaient, qui fascinaient, (That fascinated me)
Y avait l’ovale de son visage pâle, (And there was the oval of her pale face)
De femme fatale qui me fut fatale (bis). (That of a”femme fatale” who was fatal to me)

On s’est connus, on s’est reconnus, (We met, we met again)
On s’est perdus de vue, (We lost sight of each other)
on s’est reperdus de vue, (we again lost sight of each other)
On s’est retrouvés, (We found each other anew)
on s’est réchauffés, (We warmed each other)
Puis on s’est séparés. (And then we separated)

Chacun pour soi est reparti (We each went our own ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie; (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
Je l’ai revue un soir aïe aïe aïe! (One night I saw her again)
Ca fait déjà un fameux bail (bis). (It was such a long time again already)

Au son des banjos je l’ai reconnue, (To the sounds of banjos I recognized her)
Ce curieux sourire qui m’avait tant plu, (This mysterious smile that pleased me so much)
Sa voix si fatale, son beau visage pâle (Her voice so fatal, her beautiful pale face)
M’émurent plus que jamais. (Moved me more than ever)

Je me suis saoulé en l’écoutant, (I drank as I listened to her)
L’alcool fait oublier le temps, (Alcohol removes time’s sting)
Je me suis réveillé en sentant (I awoke as I felt)
Des baisers sur mon front brûlant (bis). (Her kisses on my burning brow)

On s’est connus, on s’est reconnus, (We met each other, we again met)
On s’est perdus de vue, on s’est reperdus de vue, (We lost each other, we lost each other anew)
On s’est retrouvés, on s’est séparés, (We found each other again, we separated)
Puis on s’est réchauffés. (And then, we warmed each other)

Chacun pour soi est reparti (We each went our own ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie; (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
Je l’ai revue un soir ah la la, (Again I saw her one night)
Elle est retombée dans mes bras (bis). (She fell in my arms anew)

Quand on s’est connus, (When two lovers met)
quand on s’est reconnus, (when they met again)
Pourquoi se perdre de vue, (Why losing sight of each other)
se reperdre de vue, (why losing each other again)
Quand on s’est retrouvés, (When they found each other)
quand on s’est réchauffés, (when they warmed each other)
Pourquoi se séparer? (Why go their separate ways?)

Alors tous deux on est repartis (Thus both of us resumed our ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie, (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
On a continué à tourner, (We continued to go round and round)
Tous les deux enlacés (ter). (Both together bound)
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More Jeanne Moreau on Fleurmach here and here.

And this is a WONDERFUL interview, from 2002!

gently down the stream…

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?