Friday, September 10, 2010

Char steps back from the phone

What a harangue of a day. And how nice to come to my room at home, the lamp lighting the wooden table, the book still open to the poem I left this morning: “To Drink to Friends,” André Frenaud (I will drink in remembrance of the whiteness of mountains. / I will draw wine from the bubbling of the spring / beyond the frozen high places . . .)

I’d taken the book (The Random House Book of 20th Century French Poetry! Highly recommended) out last night to look up René Char, bosom friend of Albert Camus. On p. 209 of the bio I’m reading, Char receives the bad news:

"Henri was with his parents and Char at Les Camphoux the next day when the call came telling him about the crash (that killed Camus). Char had stepped back from the phone and let out a heartrending cry, (Henri) said."

I’m almost done reading the Camus bio and serendipitously two days ago I found a copy of The Stranger in the basement. It’s always been there, I’d just never noticed it. I think I am now re-reading it, although my lack of recall suggests I’ve never read it at all. It has one of the best openings ever:

Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.

Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday. I don’t know.

Song of the day: I want to hold your hand (auf deutsch)

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