Initially released in 1992, this bilingual anthology represents the vigour, range, and originality with which the Symbolist stream was once grafted in Belgium. Cultivating an aesthetics of hallucination and spatial paradigms of the internal international, the fin de siècle Belgian poets reworked the canal towns and landscapes in their fatherland into lasting magnets of the mind's eye. The Belgian Symbolist poems are vessels of passage to visionary nation-states, demonstrating the permeability of internal and outer fact.
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Additional resources for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library)
From Le Régne du Silence Silence: c’est la voix qui se traîne, un peu lasse, De la dame de mon Silence, à très doux pas Effeuillant les lis blancs de son teint dans la glace; Convalescent à peine, et qui voit tout là-bas Les arbres, les passants, des ponts, une rivière, Où cheminent de grands nuages de lumière, Mais qui, trop faible encore, est prise tout à coup D’un ennui de la vie et comme d’un dégoût Et,—plus subtile, étant malade,—mi-brisée, Dit: «Le bruit me fait mal; qu’on ferme la croisée .
Sans plus espérer des sillages d’étoiles Et des départs vers des îles, mon rêve dort Dans le profond miroir, comme en un canal mort; Et faut-il désirer un coup de vent qui chasse En pleine mer cette âme à l’ancre dans la glace? “Aux heures de soir morne . ” from Les Vies Encloses Aux heures de soir morne où l’on voudrait mourir, Où l’on se sent le coeur trop seul, l’âme trop lasse, Quel rafraîchissement de se voir dans la glace! Eau calme du miroir impossible à tarir; On y s’oublie; on y dérive; on y recule .
She sets out for chances, Hidden in shadow and in the mist, Alongside the hushed sounds of dull tocsins, Breaking their wings at the angle of the towers. In the distance, leaving distressed The city, breathing life, She sets out for the dark riddle, To sleep in the graveyards of evening, Where the slow, almighty oceans Open their limitless, gaping mouth, To devour for all eternity, The grey corpses of enigma. The Revolt from The Black Torches (1891) Toward some remote city of riot and outcry, Where the guillotine ﬂashes its shining steel, With a sudden, insane desire, my heart sets forth.