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Les deux guerriers (1936)

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Poèmes pour Mi

Les deux guerriers

De deux nous voici un. En avant!
Comme des guerriers bardés de fer!
Ton oeil et mon oeil parmi les statues qui marchent,
Parmi les hurlements noirs,
Les écroulements de sulfureuses géométries.
Nous gémissons : ah ! écoute-moi,
Je suis tes deux enfants, mon Dieu!
En avant, guerriers sacramentels!
Tendez joyeusement vos boucliers.
Lancez vers le ciel les flèches du dévouement d'aurore:
Vous parviendrez aux portes de la Ville.

The two warriors

The two of us now are one. Onwards!
Like iron-clad warriors!
Your eye and mind among walking statues,
Among black shrieking,
Among sulphurous geometries tumbling down.
We moan: ah! listen to me,
I am your two children, my God!
Onwards, sacramental warriors!
Joyfully hold up your shields!
Cast to the heavens the arrows of dawn devotion:
You shall reach the City gates.
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, vocal music, as well as for solo organ and piano, and also experimented with the use of novel electronic instruments developed in Europe during his lifetime.

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