Palimpsest (2011)

electronic [4′23″]

―by Dean Crocker

A setting of Le dormeur du val by Arthur Rimbaud.

C’est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit: c’est un petit aval qui mousse de rayons.

Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort; il est ètendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

Les pieds dans les glaÏeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme:
Nature, berce-le chaudement: il a froid.

Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.

7 octobre 1870.

It is a green hole where a river sings wildly
Hanging Herb rags of silver
where the sun, the mountains proud
Luit: a small downstream foam rays.

A young soldier, mouth open, head bare,
and the neck bathed in cool blue watercress,
Sleeps and is lying in the grass, under the clouds,
Pale in his green bed where the light rains.

Feet in the gladioli, he sleeps.
Smiling like a sick child smile, it makes a sum of:
Nature, cradle him warmly: he is cold.

The scents are not his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, hand on his chest
Tranquil. It has two red holes on the right side.

(Literal rendering thanks to Google Translate)

—Arthur Rimbaud (1854‒1891)

Vocal recordings used in the realization of Palimpsest are in the public domain, and are freely available from LibriVox. Thanks to the readers: Nadine Eckert-Boulet, Cebes, Ezwa, Ernst Pattynama, Nathalie Mussard, and Nicholas Clifford.

Palimpsest by Dean Crocker is offered to the public under a nonexclusive license.

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Photo of Dean in Wien