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Chanson d’Orkenise (1940) FP 107 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Banalités (FP 107)

Chanson d’Orkenise

Par les portes d’Orkenise
Veut entrer un charretier.
Par les portes d’Orkenise
Veut sortir un va-nu-pieds.
Et les gardes de la ville
Courant sus au va-nu-pieds:
‘Qu’ emportes-tu de la ville?’
‘J’y laisse mon coeur entier.’
Et les gardes de la ville
Courant sus au charretier:
‘Qu’apportes-tu dans la ville?’
‘Mon coeur pour me marier!’
Que de coeurs, dans Orkenise!
Les gardes riaient, riaient.
Va-nu-pieds la route est grise,
L’amour grise, ô charretier.
Les beaux gardes de la ville
Tricotaient superbement;
Puis les portes de la ville
Se fermèrent lentement.

Song of Orkenise

Through the gates of Orkenise
A waggoner wants to enter.
Through the gates of Orkenise
A vagabond wants to leave.
And the sentries guarding the town
Rush up to the vagabond:
'What are you taking from the town?'
'I'm leaving my whole heart behind.'
And the sentries guarding the town
Rush up to the waggoner:
'What are you carrying into the town?'
'My heart in order to marry.'
So many hearts in Orkenise!
The sentries laughed and laughed:
Vagabond, the road's not merry,
Love makes you merry, O waggoner!
The handsome sentries guarding the town
Knitted vaingloriously;
The gates of the town then
Slowly closed.
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (F7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music.

Read the full Wikipedia article here.

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Guillaume Apollinaire  (26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918) was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish-Belarusian descent.

Apollinaire is considered one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century, as well as one of the most impassioned defenders of Cubism and a forefather of Surrealism. He is credited with coining the term "cubism" in 1911 to describe the emerging art movement and the term "surrealism" in 1917 to describe the works of Erik Satie. The term Orphism (1912) is also his. Apollinaire wrote one of the earliest Surrealist literary works, the play The Breasts of Tiresias (1917), which became the basis for the 1947 opera Les mamelles de Tirésias.

Apollinaire was active as a journalist and art critic for Le Matin, L'Intransigeant, L'Esprit nouveau, Mercure de France, and Paris Journal. In 1912 Apollinaire cofounded Les Soirées de Paris, an artistic and literary magazine.

Two years after being wounded in World War I, Apollinaire died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918; he was 38.

Taken from Wikipedia. Read more here.

Click here to read some of his poetry.

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