by Marie Rennard
[ed. Polésie (aka Polesy or Polesia) has a double origin -- one poetic, the other geographical. Poetically, a young Alex, just about two years old, eons ago, was listening to his mother read poetry. As the mother recounts, some kids want to see drawings of sheep (as in The Little Prince), others want to hear poetic ballades. That one wanted the latter. He got an earful of it; but he could not yet vocalize the word poetry (poésie). "I want more 'polesy,' mummy..." Mummy would oblige. Alex grew up and fixed his pronunciation, but his mother never forgot the poetic connotation of the 2-year-old's coinage. She appropriated it, giving credit where credit is due. A Polesy (Polésie) is therefore a poem. It is said that Pierre Desfroges, the dark-humor French comedian who kept laughing about disease, particularly cancer, and died...of lung cancer in 1988, also used the word in his train of thought, but I have been unable to verify the exactitude of the information.
Polesia, a Latin word, is of course better known in some rarified quarters as a swampy faraway land in the South-Western part of the Eastern-European Lowland, crossed by the Pripyat River.
The question then becomes: how do you conflate or reconcile geography and poetry? The answer is best left to the author, who recently wrote an entry to her to-be-famed Dictionnaire Arbitraire:Polesia: Lands of legends, of songs, of meadows and forests. A swampy land planted with oaks and firs, settled by people who came out of wherever, who talk only in verses, speak through music, on whatever topics, red or green, but always superbly. When winter is in and the swamps are frozen, one can stroll along the place, and, step by step, see through the broken mist the flight of the white swans in their own shadows.Evidently, those of you who embrace Molière and his language will better perceive Marie Rennard's poetic prose. In the meantime, enjoy the world of her Polésie.]
Words we muster there, no one knows their origin. They are, like memory of times past, made of peat and springs, of frozen waters, of the smells buried deep into the trees.
If each child, or most, invents again in her reading dreams that forsaken land, it's because it is there, present, almost reachable; a fabulous place haunted by giants and gnomes, by rainbows, between tender age and frozen Norths, which we can survive, and where from tentative fingers, the borders are drawn on maps among other lands that have warring names like Belarus, Ukraine, Poland... And there, in its midst, serene, stands Polesy, land of poets and the word of a child.
(Swans - April 9, 2007)
Tant entrevues, tant espérées,
Entrelacs de silences
- Ultime charité -
De fumées bleues
Pendues aux strates
D'un altiplano éloigné.
En sept mesures de six temps
- Partition primordiale -
Pour quarante deux échos
D'un souffle de hautbois.
En arabesques impossibles,
Des murmures d'éternité
Aux cimes épurées des montagnes.
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