Occitan poetry  980-2009

by Joan-Frederic Brun


 Sèrgi Javaloyès

Medieval poetry: the kingdom of love
XVI-XVIII century: tasty baroque antiliteratures
XIX th century: toward a renaissance
XIX th century (1854-1914):  spreading and sclerosis of the Provençal miracle
XX th century (1920-1965): the anguish of no future
XX th century (1965-1981): "un país que vòl viure" (a country that just wants to live)
XX th century (1981-2000): postoccitanisme
XXI th century: just a living literature among many other ones? 


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While he was born in Oran in 1951 from two families originating from the country of Alicante in Spain, the Algerian war compelled him to leave North Africa and he arrived ten years old on a wednesday of 1961 in Bearn,  in the Occitan Pyrenees. There he discovered the wild and proud Occitan language of Gascogne. Attracted by rugby, then by literature, he made his first attemps of first writing in French and in  Spanish until, in 1980 he decided that the idiom of his heart would definitely be Occitan. As a consequence, his children went to school in the militant Occitan schools called Calandretas. Since this time he wrote novels in a very modern and dazzling style, the first of which was "L'Òra de partir" (Time to leave), that appeared in 1997 and got the prestigious Joan Bodon prize in 1998. And then "La Set" (Thirst),   in 2001, and "Tranga & Tempèstas" in 2004, prize Jaufre Rudel in 2006. He has since this time been editor of the Occitan literary journal "Reclams" and writes as a columnist in the newspaper "La République des Pyrénées". He now lives in a small village in Vath Vielha, a few miles from the town he first discovered while coming from Algeria during the civilian war. Until now the Algerian drama was at the center of his literary project. Hovever, his new ambitious poetic project "Sorrom-Borrom" will be an epic of a mountain river  that will be conceived as a total spectacle in collaboration with the Occitan singer and music player Jan Francés Tisnèr.


Lo saunei deu gave


1. Silenci


Mut perhum d'encens
de glaç
nient heror pausat
suu minerau
shens cara ni nom.

Abans que la tèrra nuda
no's lhevèsse
au cap deus dits
de grama saura,
abans que la soa nacra
peu prumèr còp non giurèsse,
abans que sus las arralhas
e s'audisse nat shebit,
lo silenci deu planeta
que traucava, esvarjativa
la malícia deu pèugue
immense e descabestrat.


Aquiu las aubas que i èran negrosas
eslambrecs, vaishèths de brums
los nublatges esglasiants
qu'atendèn la crida deu gran deluvi
per aubrir un camin
cap tau saunei encetat.

2. Gorgs e glacèrs


Lo temps pausat qu'èra nueit
e variats los crits
enter sas mans la furia deu Mèste
rebatuda dens l'aiga grana
on los lugrans e's miralhavan
que sarrava son corps.
Puish que's lhevè ua ventania
possant los ahoalhs de crums
esperdiciant son marmús
suus gorgs clucs
suus glacèrs ròses
on en de batles e hasèn cridòris
becuts ennevats,
pastors shens òrris aperant
venjança per las pèiras
cadudas deus malhs estant
escomejant lo cèu torrolhat
de qui se credèn desdeishats.




De l'espartilha  e la nueit sa hilha
que i avó lo dia e los sons lugrans
la mar e los hodres impacients, lo temps
e los becuts.
Un dia, las nublas qu'estornudèn sus la puas
e suus tartèrs, e deu lor entec
que i chorrotè blus anilhets
a qui la terra e dé un linçòu.


Empresoada enter tasca e arròca
l'aiga peu cèu enviada que delerava
l'amplor deu aires
e las perperejadas deus lugrans.
quandes còps a paupas e's cerquè un camin,
dinc a l'Ola
la dauna grana
de Gavarnia
e l'amuishè
l'uelh per qui haré lo son present au monde.

The dream of the river Gave


1. Silence


Silent fragrance of incense
of ice
nothingness, fear raised
above faceless and nameless

.Even before the bare soil
in your fingertips
of fair scum,
before its nacre
for the first time can frost,
before the aggregate
could be heared any murmur
the silence of the planet
going through, alarming,
the anger of the wide 

and furious ocean


Here blades were dark
lightnings, vessels of fog,
scary clouds
waiting for the cry of the great deluge
to open a path
toward the heady dream.

2. Abysses and glaciers


Time had stopped since it was night
and there were so many roars
within its hands the Master's fury
reflected in the wide water
where stars appeared like in a mirror,
so close of its body.
Then the the insane wind arose
pushing crowds of clouds
dissipating its rustling
over stolen potholes
over pink glaciers
where were unsuccessfully screaming
ogres covered withh snow,
homeless shepherds claiming
their revenge to rocks
launched from the summits
cursing the frozen sky
for they believed it had abandonned them ..


The fault, and the night her daughter
there was the day with its stars
sea and impatient wind, and time
and monsters.
One day, the clouds on summits on eructated
and from their moods
spurted blue screams
and the earth gave them shroud.


Caught between soil and rocks
water sent through the sky falled
downward the extent of air
and the blink of stars.
How many times did it seek for a path
toward the Cirque
the grande dame of Gavarnie
and did it show the spring, from which
it would make its present to the world.

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