Day: 05/06/2014

‘Chanson d’Automne’ (‘Autumn Song’) by Paul Verlaine

In preparation for the D-Day Landings in Normandy on 6th June 1944, Operation Overlord, the BBC had signalled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem “Chanson d’Automne” were to indicate the start of the D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, “Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l’automne” (“The long sobs of autumn violins”), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks. These lines were broadcast on 1st June 1944. The next set of lines, “Blessent mon coeur / d’une langueur / monotone” (“wound my heart with a monotonous languor”), meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5th June at 23:15 GMT.

As we approach the 70th anniversary of D-Day, let us remember those who bravely assaulted the beaches codenamed ‘Omaha’, ‘Utah’, ‘Gold’, ‘Juno’ and ‘Sword’, and especially those who fell on both sides.

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon cœur
D’une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of Autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous

All choked
And pale, when
The hour chimes,
I remember
Days of old
And I cry

And I’m going
On an ill wind
That carries me
Here and there,
As if a
Dead leaf.

– Paul Verlaine

Thursday is Verse Day @FaithUnlocked – Ezekiel 37:1-10

The hand of the Lord was on me,
and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord
and set me in the middle of a valley;
it was full of bones.
He led me to and fro among them,
and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley,
bones that were very dry.
He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’
I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’
Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
“Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones:
I will make breath enter you,
and you will come to life.
I will attach tendons to you
and make flesh come upon you
and cover you with skin;
I will put breath in you,
and you will come to life.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.”’
So I prophesied as I was commanded.
And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound,
and the bones came together, bone to bone.
I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them
and skin covered them,
but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath;
prophesy, son of man, and say to it,
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
come, breath, from the four winds
and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”’
So I prophesied as he commanded me,
and breath entered them;
they came to life and stood up on their feet
– a vast army.

– Ezekiel 37:1-10