Monday, February 12, 2007


I'm gradually accumulating links to sites etc accepting poetry submissions, as well as other resources and information. These are among the links on the right hand side of this page.

Serge Gainsbourg: Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais

This is a smoky kind of song for a rainy Paris in late summer, and strange dreams circle it like a late afternoon bar with all the curtains drawn, with drunken men and women surrendering to their sadness and strangeness. There's something of deep denial and anger in here, expressed through a kind of soft savagery. Blood runs down these yellow windows, and we order more wine and sing our sad, angry, defiant songs of doomed love through the smoke, no longer hoping for anything beyond the moment. Outside in the rain, office workers hurry back from their lunch breaks carrying flowers or broken mouldings from antique furniture, and here time stretches in one of those long moments seen through green glass and the dull shine of old sorrow. From the dreaming chamber, we sense some kind of dawn approaching, always that hateful daylight that comes to tear the covers from our dreams. I could almost swoon forever in that long moment, but only death ultimately lives there in that place outside of time. This is the message of Gainsbourg: the moment will always end, and the grey light will reveal the faces of your new lovers as old, monstrous, desperate things, your poems as paper scraps that dissolve in the rain, all your songs nothing, less than echoes. Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais...I have come to tell you that I'm tes larmes n'y pourrent rien changer...and your tears will change nothing... We still have time for one more drink, one more song, one last cigarette before the ship sinks. This is a deep, drunken moment for me, as I once spent three days with a French woman I met on a ferry - we stayed in a guest house on the south coast of England, and we listened to this song over and over, venturing out briefly to sit in quayside bars and eat bad food, knowing that time was running out, that some kind of light was approaching. I suggested we should get married right there and then before the dawn came, but she said no. Why break the spell? I wondered. But she sensed the light better than I did, and she knew Gainsbourg's message better. We never met again, but neither of us listen to this song without recalling that long moment before the ship foundered. I got the train back to the north, and she went back to Paris, but footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened into the rose-garden...