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Archive for December, 2011

La Femme et Son Corps

(This is a paper I wrote exploring Baudelaire’s portrayal of the woman and her body through his poetry in Les Fleurs du Mal, in case you are interested in reading it. If you don’t read French, then I’m sorry. I’m too lazy to translate an entire composition of mine…)

La beauté et le corps de la femme ont inspiré la musique, la littérature, et la poésie depuis le commencement du langage. Les femmes animent l’admiration, la dévotion, l’amour et aussi les guerres, l’obsession, et même la mort. Marie la Vierge, la mère de Jésus Christ est un sujet d’adoration dans l’Église catholique pour sa chasteté et son obéissance à Dieu. Et Hélène de Troie avait la figure si belle qu’elle a lancé mille navires pour une guerre épique dans l’histoire. Beaucoup de chansons décrivent des belles femmes et de leurs effets sur les autres. Dans la poésie, l’image d’une femme est peut-être l’idée et la source d’inspiration la plus populaire. Charles Baudelaire, un poète de l’époque Romantique du dix-neuvième siècle, utilise très souvent la femme et son corps dans sa poésie. Il les décrit même d’une façon que ses lecteurs peuvent trouver choquante et scandaleuse. C’était quoi, sa motivation ? De démontrer un autre côté des mesdames et des filles qui oppose l’opinion traditionnelle de leur innocence, naïveté, et perfection ? Dans ses poèmes, particulièrement ceux qui étaient condamnées, « À Celle Qui Est Trop Gaie, » « Les Bijoux, » et « Les Métamorphoses du Vampire » on lit ses idées radicales au sujet des femmes.

Le commencement du poème, « À Celle Qui Est Trop Gaie, » est une description innocente d’une jeune fille qu’un homme regarde dans un jardin. Il la décrit avec beaucoup d’admiration : « Ta tête, ton geste, ton air sont beaux comme un beau paysage ; le rire joue en ton visage comme un vent frais dans un ciel clair » (les vers 1-4). Baudelaire utilise souvent des éléments de la nature pour peindre la beauté de la fille comme « l’image d’un ballet de fleurs » (vers 12), « le soleil » (20), « le printemps et la verdure » (21), et plusieurs instances dans le reste du poème. La nature est une image positive dans le symbolisme, mais pendant les vers elle évolue dans un sens qui crée du dédain : « J’ai senti… le soleil déchirer mon sein » (20). L’homme dit en regardant la fille, « Je te hais autant que je t’aime ! » (16). Et il continue avec des émotions malveillantes, le dégout, et même la perversion. Les lecteurs ne savent pas l’association il fait avec la jeune fille, s’il est un amoureux méprisé ou un voyeur qui la regarde avec obsession. Il a l’air du contrôle féroce avec la domination. À la fin du poème, Baudelaire écrit, « Ainsi je voudrais, une nuit, quand l’heure des voluptés sonne, vers les trésors de ta personne, comme un lâche, ramper sans bruit, pour châtier ta chair joyeuse, pour meurtrier ton sein pardonné, et faire à ton flanc étonné une blessure large et creuse » (25-32). Ces vers choquants font allusion au viol. L’homme parle de la fille comme si elle est un objet de tentation qu’il veut dominer, qu’elle est naïve, inférieure, et doit être punie pour sa beauté. Il continue en disant, « à travers ces lèvres nouvelles, plus éclatantes et plus belles, t’infuser  mon venin, ma sœur ! » (34-36). C’est monstrueux et sadique comment il décrit son comportement médité. On ne sait pas si ses désirs ont du succès, mais l’imagerie de ses pensées crée un frisson du malaise chez les lecteurs.

« Les Bijoux » était écrit, avec les autres poèmes de Baudelaire, dans une période quand l’exotisme dominait les sujets de la littérature et la musique en contraste les temps terribles du dix-neuvième siècle. La nourriture et des places pour se coucher étaient presque impossibles de trouver. La maladie et la mort étaient partout dans la rue. Les écrivains ont écrits de l’Orient et les idées fantastiques et magiques des pays que les Européens ne connaissaient pas. La femme dans ce poème est exotique comme est suggéré dans sa « peau couleur d’ambre » (32), mais il n’est pas spécifiquement dit. L’homme pense qu’elle est comme les bijoux qu’elle porte : « Ce monde rayonnant de métal et de pierre me ravit en extase, et j’aime à la fureur les choses où le son se mêle à la lumière » (6-8).  Comme le premier poème, il l’observe plutôt comme un objet à admirer et à posséder. Elle a les traits bestiaux et pas humains, « les yeux fixés sur moi, comme un tigre dompté » (13) et aussi « onduleux comme un cygne » (18). C’est comme si l’homme la voit pour son corps, pas pour elle comme une femme. « Et son bras et sa jambe, et sa cuisse et sa reins, polis comme de l’huile, onduleux comme un cygne, passaient devant mes yeux clairvoyants et sereins ; et son ventre et ses seins, ces grappes de ma vigne » (17-20). Il ne la regarde pas en entier mais dans les fragments du corps. Mais cette femme adore l’attention et veut seulement son admiration et pas son amour. La sensualité domine la scène, et la femme comme séductrice est le thème de ce poème.

La tentation et la séduction sont élevées dans « Les Métamorphoses du Vampire » avec une manière plus extrême que dans les deux poèmes précédents. La femme n’est plus une femme mais maintenant un vampire. Dans ce poème, l’homme est vu plus innocente qu’avant. C’est la femme qui est vicieuse et sans pitié pour son proie. Il est périlleux de s’engager avec elle. L’imagerie qui la décrit évoque Satan, le serpent tentateur, « en se tordant ainsi qu’un serpent sur la braise » (2). La séduction de l’homme mène son abandon du monde, comme le vampire lui parle: « Je sèche tous les pleurs sur mes seins triomphants… Je remplace, pour qui me voit nue et sans voiles, la lune, le soleil, le ciel et les étoiles » (7, 9-10). La femme est vue forte et monstrueuse, différemment des autres femmes dans les autres poèmes de Baudelaire. Mais il suggère une autre possibilité de décrire une femme.

Pour toujours, la femme reste un mystère pour les hommes. Baudelaire décrit la femme de manière plus ambivalents mais toujours d’un point de vue extérieur. Les hommes peuvent écrire beaucoup de descriptions différentes, mais ils ne connaîtront jamais l’énigme qui est la féminité. Peut-être c’est mieux.

❤ Me

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Freedom and Two Months

I’m finally free from classes and at my mom’s house for Christmas break!

It’s been a long and grueling time, but breathing the air of not having to worry about classes until January 18th is a wonderful feeling! I still have a little revision to do for a French paper I’ve already written by the end of this weekend, but that’s not something big, considering I already wrote it and simply need to revise it.

Today marks two months that I have decided to commit to my special someone. It feels like we’ve been together for much longer than that! My heart hasn’t felt this amazing and cared for after two months, not even before… It’s mind-boggling. I haven’t felt this way for a man ever. It’s a much different feeling than when I was in previous relationships. And I trust this feeling more because of that difference. There is a sense of maturity and something deeper that I can’t give a name… other than love. It’s a much different love than I’ve ever felt. And I look forward to delving deeper in my exploration of it.

Here is a poem I wrote for him and will be giving to him as we go out on a romantic date of dinner, ice skating, and who knows what else!

Behind those beautiful blue eyes I see a tenderness that is

Just for me. It travels through me,

Right into my very core, my heart,

Every time you look at me.

In each smile, each kiss, something I cannot

Name burns brighter in my soul,

And I never want these feelings to end,

Not even when I fall asleep and enter into the land of dreams,

Not ever. You are wonderful in everything you do for me,

Always making me feel loved and treasured.

In the poem, I’ve entwined our names together in the alternating of the first letters of each line…

Have a great weekend everyone!

❤ Me

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The End is Nigh (Part Three)

It’s late Tuesday night, and once again I’m in the Music Basement for my second to last opportunity to work and earn some money before Christmas Break (and a month without income).

I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone by! Sunday was my Christmas Concert, and it went very well! That was my last Christmas Concert involved with my university. Who knows what ensembles I’ll be in the future after I graduate. I sang and looked beautiful, along with everyone else.

Monday morning was my College Algebra exam, and I believe that I did well on it. I completed it in about 30 minutes and felt pretty confident about every single answer I worked! It may be enough to bump my grade up to an A for the semester, which would be so amazing. I struggled with that class but worked my bum off for the second half of the semester, managing to get As (and even one 101%!) on my last two exams before this one!

I’ll go and check to see if my grades have been updated on my account yet…

As of yet, no grade has been updated on my audit, except for my passing Master Class. That’s just a Pass/Fail course though, and I don’t think it has a large impact on my GPA.

Later Monday afternoon I had my very last voice jury ever at my university! Next semester I won’t need to take one due to my performing a recital, which is much more grueling and demanding. Let me tell you… This was my very best jury performance ever! Of course I have room for improvement, but the praise definitely shone forth on everyone’s written feedback. My choir director afterwords came out to congratulate me, and my voice teacher expressed how proud she was of me and all of my hard work that I’ve accomplished. It’s been a rough semester, especially with going through the health issues in the beginning as well as dealing with my break-up from my first serious relationship. I pulled myself together and was able to do my best job yet! I’m really proud of myself. The head of the vocal department wrote in her comments that my performance of “Gretchen am Spinnrade” was her favourite performance I had ever done out of all the years here! That was a major compliment! The only way to move forward from here is up and beyond!

Last night was a crazy study fest with my friend J for our 20th Century Music final exam. They’re always a challenge for me to prepare for, but thanks to studying with someone else other than me by my lonesome, I feel good about it in the aftermath of the exam. This exam was at 8:30am. Extremely early. I had gone to bed after 3am because I was studying and working on the Analytic Essay that was the take-home portion of the final but didn’t finish. So I woke up at 6am and got it all completed in time. My professor gave me an extension on my term paper, thank goodness.

I went back to my apartment and had lunch with my friend and old roommate M. It was a great time catching up with him. Then I hopped into bed and finished reading The Hunger Games. If you like novels about dystopian societies and fighting for ones life, then you could very well enjoy it. I loved it and am interested in seeing the movie whenever it’s released.

Then I think I slept for an hour or so. All I know is that I definitely am not running on enough sleep. C’est la vie d’une étudiante, oui.

All that remains of this semester for me to accomplish is to finish my term paper, finish and revise the draft of my Senior Thesis, and revise my French paper by 5pm on Thursday! Then I’m free until January 2012!

There’s also the small matter of cleaning my room and doing a plethora of laundry too, but that will come eventually.

As for now, it’s time for me to continue studying and attempting to stay sane in these final days.

Hope you’re all well!

❤ Me

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O Magnum Mysterium

I have under an hour until my final College Algebra exam, so I should be studying!

I don’t have time to write anything substantial, but I would like to share a video taken of a song I sang with my Chamber Choir  at our Christmas Concert yesterday. It’s a beautiful piece by Tomás Luis de Victoria called, “O Magnum Mysterium.” We were all spread out surrounding the audience members on both sides. My friend G who came to the concert and brought his camera was right by the pillar from which I came out to sing, so that’s how you get a great front-seat view of me singing the soprano line! I hope you enjoy it!

The translation is as follows:

O great mystery,

and wonderful sacrament,

that animals should see the new-born Lord,

lying in a manger!

Blessed is the Virgin whose womb

was worthy to bear

Christ the Lord.

Alleluia!

 

❤ Me

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Hauntings

They are haunting me again

The memories

Of my past

My loss

What hurt my heart

And now echo in the present

 

I try with every bit of my strength

And will to move on

But the pain still lingers

Like a throbbing wound

That never fully healed

 

Here you are not

With me you are not

By my side you are not

In my arms you are not

 

Nothing can be done about this

I have no control

Over what happens

Only can I hope

For the future

And make the best out of my pain

That I try not to reveal to you

 

Yet what hurts more

Your silence

Or my holding it inside

I do not know

Nor can I endure it much longer

Without sinking back into

The pit of painful memories

Of past promises and failures

And silence

 

Here I shall endure

Curled up into a ball

Sobbing into my pillow

And praying for sleep

To take me to more pleasant dreams

Of a world where we successfully love

Together

-Me

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I Wish I Could

I wish I could erase every frustration you have

I wish I could alleviate all of your worries

I wish I could hug away stress and bad days

I wish I could kiss the frown from your lips

I wish I could heal the hurts that you encounter

I wish I could take you away from everything negative

And with my presence

Heal you

 

I could try to do all of these

But alas they can only do so much to help

Yet not enough

 

So instead of trying with all of my might to

Fix you

I will listen to everything you choose to share

And be there for you when you decide to reach out

 

For I am not magic

Nor can I heal whatever ails you

I cannot force change or

Mold this into my idea of a healthier

And better situation

 

Here still I will be

Caring for you

Wishing for you

Praying for you

Hoping for you

And most of all

Loving you

 

Have faith

It will get better soon

Please believe

❤ Me

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The Lie

When I was in Iowa for Thanksgiving, I bought a poetry anthology entitled, Immortal Poems of the English Language. I was looking for a book of poetry but never imagined I would stumble across something like this that has 447 British and American masterpieces by 150 poets! It begins with Geoffrey Chaucer and proceeds through to Dylan Thomas. I’m absorbing them like a sponge and reading them aloud to myself when I have time to sit down and read for fun (something I’m trying to get into the habit of doing more often).

I came across a poem called, “The Lie” by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) and felt compelled to share it with you. Enjoy.

Go, Soul, the body’s guest,

Upon a thankless arrant:

Fear not to touch the best;

The truth shall be thy warrant:

Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows

And shines like rotten wood;

Say to the church, it shows

What’s good, and doth no good:

If church and court reply,

Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live

Acting by others’ action;

Not loved unless they give,

Not strong but by a faction:

If potentates reply,

Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,

That manage the estate,

Their purpose is ambition,

Their practice only hate:

And if they once reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,

Who, in their greatest cost,

Seek nothing but commending:

And if they make reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;

Tell love it is but lust:

Tell time it is but motion;

Tell flesh it is but dust:

And wish them not reply,

For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;

Tell honour how it alters;

Tell beauty how she blasteth;

Tell favour how it falters:

And as they shall reply,

Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles

In tickle points of niceness;

Tell wisdom she entangles

Herself in over-wiseness:

And when they do reply,

Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;

Tell skill it is pretension;

Tell charity of coldness;

Tell law it is contention:

And as they do reply,

So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;

Tell nature of decay;

Tell friendship of unkindness;

Tell justice of delay:

And if they will reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,

But vary by esteeming;

Tell schools they want profoundness,

And stand too much on seeming:

If arts and schools reply,

Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;

Tell how the country erreth;

Tell manhood shakes off pity

And virtue least preferreth:

And if they do reply,

Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I

Commanded thee, done blabbing

–Although to give the lie

Deserves no less than stabbing–

Stab at thee he that will,

No stab the soul can kill.

~*~

That poem struck me as extremely relevant to the state of this world today. I wonder if anyone agrees with me.

And also, Raleigh never states what “the lie” actually is…

Would anyone like to guess and give their ideas of what lie the reader should tell society?

❤ Me

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