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Le temps a laissé son manteau ("The season has cast its coat aside")
by Charles d'Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

The season has cast its coat aside
of wind and cold and rain,
to dress in embroidered light again:
bright sunlight, fit for a bride!

There isn't a bird or beast astride
that fails to sing this sweet refrain:
"The season has cast its coat aside!"

Now rivers, fountains, springs and tides
dressed in their summer best
with silver beads impressed
in a fine display now glide:
the season has cast its coat aside!

The year lays down his mantle cold
by Charles d'Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

The year lays down his mantle cold
of wind, chill rain and bitter air,
and now goes clad in clothes of gold
of smiling suns and seasons fair,
while birds and beasts of wood and fold
now with each cry and song declare:
“The year lays down his mantle cold!”
All brooks, springs, rivers, seaward rolled,
now pleasant summer livery wear
with silver beads embroidered where
the world puts off its raiment old.
The year lays down his mantle cold.

Winter has cast his cloak away
by Charles d'Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Winter has cast his cloak away
of wind and cold and chilling rain
to dress in embroidered light again:
the light of day—bright, festive, gay!
Each bird and beast, without delay,
in its own tongue, sings this refrain:
“Winter has cast his cloak away!”
Brooks, fountains, rivers, streams at play,
wear, with their summer livery,
bright beads of silver jewelry.
All the Earth has a new and fresh display:
Winter has cast his cloak away!

Note: This rondeau was set to music by Debussy in his “Trois chansons de France.”



The original French rondeau:

Le temps a laissé son manteau
De vent, de froidure et de pluie,
Et s’est vêtu de broderie,
De soleil luisant, clair et beau.

Il n’y a bête, ni oiseau
Qu’en son jargon ne chante ou crie :
"Le temps a laissé son manteau."

Rivière, fontaine et ruisseau
Portent en livrée jolie,
Gouttes d’argent d’orfèvrerie,
Chacun s’habille de nouveau :
Le temps a laissé son manteau.



Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465) was a French royal born into an aristocratic family: his grandfather was Charles V of France and his uncle was Charles VI. His father, Louis I, Duke of Orleans, was a patron of poets and artists. The poet Christine de Pizan dedicated poems to his mother, Valentina Visconti. He became the Duke of Orleans at age 13 after his father was murdered by John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was captured at age 21 in the battle of Agincourt and taken to England, where he remained a prisoner for the next quarter century. While imprisoned there he learned English and wrote poetry of a high order in his second language. A master of poetic forms, he wrote primarily ballades, chansons, complaints and rondeaux. He has been called the “father of French lyric poetry” and has also been credited with writing the first Valentine’s Day poem.

Keywords/Tags: France, French, translation, Charles, Orleans, Duke, first Valentine, rondeau, chanson, rondel, roundel, ballade, ballad, lyric, Middle English, Medieval English, rondeaus, rondeaux, rondels, roundels, ballades, ballads, chansons, royal, noble, prisoner, hostage, ransom, season, seasons, winter, cold, snow, rain, summer, light, clothes, embroidered, embroidery, birds, beasts, sing, singing, song, refrain, rivers, springs, brooks, fountains, silver, beads
Rondel: Your Smiling Mouth
by Charles d'Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms’ twin chains,
Your hands so smooth, each finger straight and plain,
Your little feet—please, what more can I say?

It is my fetish when you’re far away
To muse on these and thus to soothe my pain—
Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms’ twin chains.

So would I beg you, if I only may,
To see such sights as I before have seen,
Because my fetish pleases me. Obscene?
I’ll be obsessed until my dying day
By your sweet smiling mouth and eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms’ twin chains!

Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465) was a French royal born into an aristocratic family: his grandfather was Charles V of France and his uncle was Charles VI. His father, Louis I, Duke of Orleans, was a patron of poets and artists. The poet Christine de Pizan dedicated poems to his mother, Valentina Visconti. He became the Duke of Orleans at age 13 after his father was murdered by John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was captured at age 21 in the battle of Agincourt and taken to England, where he remained a prisoner for the next quarter century. While imprisoned there he learned English and wrote poetry of a high order in his second language. A master of poetic forms, he wrote primarily ballades, chansons, complaints and rondeaux. He has been called the “father of French lyric poetry” and has also been credited with writing the first Valentine’s Day poem.

Keywords/Tags: France, French, translation, Charles, Orleans, Duke, first Valentine, rondeau, chanson, rondel, roundel, ballade, ballad, lyric, Middle English, Medieval English, rondeaus, rondeaux, rondels, roundels, ballades, ballads, chansons, royal, noble, prisoner, hostage, ransom, mouth, eyes, arms, *******, hands, feet, foot, fetish, obscene, ***, desire, lust
Oft in My Thought
by Charles d'Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

So often in my busy mind I sought,
    Around the advent of the fledgling year,
For something pretty that I really ought
    To give my lady dear;
    But that sweet thought's been wrested from me, clear,
        Since death, alas, has sealed her under clay
    And robbed the world of all that's precious here—
        God keep her soul, I can no better say.

For me to keep my manner and my thought
    Acceptable, as suits my age's hour?
While proving that I never once forgot
    Her worth? It tests my power!
    I serve her now with masses and with prayer;
        For it would be a shame for me to stray
    Far from my faith, when my time's drawing near—
        God keep her soul, I can no better say.

Now earthly profits fail, since all is lost
and the cost of everything became so dear;
Therefore, O Lord, who rules the higher host,
    Take my good deeds, as many as there are,
    And crown her, Lord, above in your bright sphere,
        As heaven's truest maid! And may I say:
    Most good, most fair, most likely to bring cheer—
        God keep her soul, I can no better say.

When I praise her, or hear her praises raised,
I recall how recently she brought me pleasure;
    Then my heart floods like an overflowing bay
And makes me wish to dress for my own bier—
    God keep her soul, I can no better say.

Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465) was a French royal born into an aristocratic family: his grandfather was Charles V of France and his uncle was Charles VI. His father, Louis I, Duke of Orleans, was a patron of poets and artists. The poet Christine de Pizan dedicated poems to his mother, Valentina Visconti. He became the Duke of Orleans at age 13 after his father was murdered by John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was captured at age 21 in the battle of Agincourt and taken to England, where he remained a prisoner for the next quarter century. While imprisoned there he learned English and wrote poetry of a high order in his second language. A master of poetic forms, he wrote primarily ballades, chansons, complaints and rondeaux. He has been called the “father of French lyric poetry” and has also been credited with writing the first Valentine’s Day poem.

Keywords/Tags: France, French, translation, Charles, Orleans, Duke, first Valentine, rondeau, chanson, rondel, roundel, ballade, ballad, lyric, Middle English, Medieval English, rondeaus, rondeaux, rondels, roundels, ballades, ballads, chansons, royal, noble, prisoner, hostage, ransom
Spring
by Charles d’Orleans (c. 1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Young lovers,
greeting the spring
fling themselves downhill,
making cobblestones ring
with their wild leaps and arcs,
like ecstatic sparks
drawn from coal.

What is their brazen goal?

They grab at whatever passes,
so we can only hazard guesses.
But they rear like prancing steeds
raked by brilliant spurs of need,
Young lovers.



Original French text:

Jeunes amoureux nouveaulx
En la nouvelle saison,
Par les rues, sans raison,
Chevauchent, faisans les saulx.
Et font saillir des carreaulx
Le feu, comme de cherbon,
     Jeunes amoureux nouveaulx.
Je ne sçay se leurs travaulx
Ilz emploient bien ou non,
Mais piqués de l’esperon
Sont autant que leurs chevaulx
     Jeunes amoureux nouveaulx.



Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465) was a French royal born into an aristocratic family: his grandfather was Charles V of France and his uncle was Charles VI. His father, Louis I, Duke of Orleans, was a patron of poets and artists. The poet Christine de Pizan dedicated poems to his mother, Valentina Visconti. He became the Duke of Orleans at age 13 after his father was murdered by John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was captured at age 21 in the battle of Agincourt and taken to England, where he remained a prisoner for the next quarter century. While imprisoned there he learned English and wrote poetry of a high order in his second language. A master of poetic forms, he wrote primarily ballades, chansons, complaints and rondeaux. He has been called the “father of French lyric poetry” and has also been credited with writing the first Valentine’s Day poem.

Keywords/Tags: France, French, translation, Charles, Orleans, Duke, first Valentine, rondeau, chanson, rondel, roundel, ballade, ballad, lyric, Middle English, Medieval English, rondeaus, rondeaux, rondels, roundels, ballades, ballads, chansons, royal, noble, prisoner, hostage, ransom
Simone Nov 2017
Took me to the wrong end of the Mississippi
Blown north from the whistling blues
Dreamt that sweet sound of saxophones
Coloring St. Claude Avenue

Banana leaves melted into evergreens
Where the swamps finally ran cold
Through the mountain ranges of the lakes, and banjos of the plains
Where the countryside grew quiet and old

I grew up on the wrong end of the Mississippi
But now I’m taking that southbound train
Oh honey don’t ask me how I’ve been
It’s a restless, lonesome pain
Simone Oct 2017
This land still sings your silent song
I chased it West under suspension bridges
In the empty whiskey bottles along Mississippi railroad tracks
In the sound of sugar sweet air in blue humid mornings
and the cool breath of absinthe sipped by the riverside
flanked by banana leaves.
Heard it in the breeze of swamp-side Cyprus trees, over swaying docks to rod iron French Quarter balconies, above the Bourbon street children drumming hymns of the Bayou's soul.
Bobcat Aug 2017
I have nothing to show for these past 3 years except a broken heart and a taste for whiskey
Now the early mornin' hours is when I think the most
Though you know I'd really like to get some sleep

See my body has a home but my soul is all alone and I know that it's all my fault
So I'll pour another drink and light up this roach while I sit and think 'bout the last 3 years wishing that this whiskey still burned deep

I'm listening to songs about New Orleans thinking that maybe thats where I should be
But who am I kidding I hate the humidity and I can't escape the shakes no matter how far I run away

And although my body has a home, my soul is all alone and I know that it's all my fault
So I'll pour another drink and light up this roach while I sit and think about the last 3 years and work on a new approach
William Schenck Mar 2017
I buzz down Bourbon St.,
bar-hopping to and fro in pursuit of some
sought-after nerve.

I’ll pass street entertainers performing
various tricks and trades
and I’ll envy not their boater hats
filled with cash, but rather the
attention they command from mothers
and fathers alike, on-looking and inebriated.
                              Maybe father would’ve looked at me
                              with the same awe, had I donned
                              a pair of stilts or covered my body in
                              tinman silver, for his
                              failure to pay me mind
                              certainly wasn’t a result of
                              under-intoxication.

I digress. The thirteen blocks that stretch between
Canal & Esplanade Avenue host
a distinct pattern of storefronts:
                    Bar, *******, bar, gift shop,
                    bar, *******, bar, gift shop,

and so on.
I’ll stop in nearly every other one,
and the taste in my mouth
will start to remind me of the street’s namesake.

With a scant blouse on and
a batting of my bedroom eyes,
a man will inevitably strike up a
“conversation” with me.
While I unconsciously engage
in repartee, I’ll wonder to myself
what must be wrong with him
that he would hone in on some
despondent fool like me.

He’ll continue to ply me with drinks
until a taxi cab takes me away,
and through a backseat window
cracked open, I’ll hear
New Orleans sing
while I sigh.


W.M.S.
2017
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