Occitan poetry 980-2006
by Joan-Frederic Brun
(Henriette Dibon 1902-1989)
Ligo la garbo di plesi,
(Bind the sheaf of pleasures, oh! my heart, of pleasures of the hour, that chance braids and that unflower time with neither regret nor desire!)
Teacher, then secretary and archivist in
the Palais du Roure at Avignon, she decided to become a Provençal poet
while discovering in 1922 (she was just 22 years old) Camargue, the mystic core of Provence whose priests
were the the legendary poets and horseriders Folco de Baroncelli
and Joseph d’Arbaud. She spent her whole life seeking the impossible
and perfect love, wanting to become the Countess of Die of some
mysterious Prince of Orange. And converting all this trouble into
burning poetry. Reinié Jouveau wrote about her: Farfantello is really
the poet of the fury of living (”furour de viéure”).
The famous Provençal critic and poet Sully-Andre
Peyre, who used to be pitiless, outspokenness accomodated the first
works of Farfantello with freshness. The mirages, he whrote in
“Marsyas”, have received much more success than they did not
deserve. However this success is explained and justified for one very
reason. There exists in Provence and Languedoc in a little area where
reigns a strange mystic, that of the bull; Camargue is its Holy Land and
Baroncelli its last priest. Farfantello used to be (and remains for
ever) one of the vestals of this worship. A vestal who is also sometimes
Nonetheless, whatever criticisms, people from Camargue really loved Li mirage and most of its poems became truly popular among them: Amarèu, la cabano, lou calèu, because they recognized themselves in those verses. And the magic country of bulls and horses will never forget the name of Farfantello…
And at least Sully-Andre Peyre wrote a beautiful introduction poem to one of the best Farfantello's books: Lou Radèu. He admitted this "poet of the fury of living" was really a great voice of Provençal literature...
Farfantello (Henriette Dibon 1902-1989) and the marquis Folco de Baroncelli-Javon (1869-1943). While the latter saved and renewed the Camarguese traditions of bulls and horses, the former, also a great poet, defined the rules of Camarguese elegance: here she appears dressed as a genuine"Arlatenco". Her name still remains as the ultimate reference for female Provençal vestimentary tradition
mot vivènt, noste bèl eiretage, fuguerias la cresènço au bèu,
l'autiero flour aluminant d'espèr lou prefa d'un autre age, fuguerias
la vido e l'amour !
You've been, living words, our beautiful heritage, you've been the belief in the beautiful, the proud flower illuminating with hope the task of another age, you were life and love.
You then became the book whose pages will buzz like bees in the middle of the coldest winter: you are the book where our springing soul will have made shine its hope! The book where some hand in its impatient turn to gather you like a flight of wings being folded up, between the thin layers will take to you, quivering, to entrust to you to other hands.
Counèisse ti niue founso ount la plano jalado
I know your deep nights where the frozen plain sreams of
horror under the northern wind,
In the twilight.
Come! I'll wait you on the place of Saint Mary, one day in the evening, at fallen night. One evening when the sun, above dancing water, will throw its faded gold rays.
Come! I'll take out you in the obscure vault, we'll incline ourselves in front of the furnace bridge. With knees we will request powerful Saintes, the Great powerful saints of the Sea.
I'ill catch you by the hand: Come in the large plain, ride my horse. We'll go away together in the middle of the salicornes, beside herds of bulls.
Down there we'll see rising the horns of the moon beyond black pines, and we'll feel passing close of the brown soil the flight of great birds.
And if you want, in the saladelles, we'll long, long wander ... And we'll long listen to the sad and painful song of immaculate waves...
Tying my horse to some tamarisk, if you want, we'll get down. We'll look the falling tops of the waves in front of the smooth beach.
We'll not speak of love: we'll let our souls bloomed like flowers. We'll feel night's beauty and stillness, poetry and sweetness.
We'll not speak of love: our serious souls will quite better understand each other. Our friendship of Camarguese horseriders is more powerful, let's remain friends, beautiful herdsman.
Then, when the hour will ring out at the ancestors' bell, we'll shake our hands like two old friends and we'll tell to each other: goodbye!
All will be asleep in the wide silent plain. After I'd let on your fingers, for a while, my warm and feverish hand, I'll flee in the nigh on my white Carmarguese horse.
LA FIHO FIERO
La fiho fièro que s’enanavo à chivau
La fiho fièro que sabié lou camina
La fiho fièro que clinavo soun riban
La fiho fiero emé lou tèms qu'a debana
Mai i'aura d’àutri fiho encavalado e fèro
pèr abriva, bandi, e tria, e marca,
D’àutri fiho vendran dins l’amaro
The haughty girl
The haughty girl that wandered riding
The haughty girl who knew the tracks
The haughty girl who was leaning
forward her velvet ribbon
The haughty girl, with the time that
But there will be other girls, wildly
riding , for "abrivar",
Other girls will come in our bitter
plain to love what we loved, to do what we did,