Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since February 2008.
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Monday, 29 April 2013

Le Grand Filou


My handsome, unreliable friend -
a leaf-and-bud-growing, wine-and-plant-loving
Basque gypsy, with splendidly
patched trousers, a braided beard,
and a shaggy dog -
'suffers' a bit from illiteracy,
so he can't read the names of the plants I give him...
Clivia nobilis, for example.
He's had no "education" to corrupt his mind,
or hypocritise his sometimes
brusque behaviour -
many think him unrefined
but importantly for me,
he has a sweet and boyish nature.

In his unmodernised and grimy,
butt-and bottle-strewn, but friendly flat,
he has a special thermal cubicle
crammed with Special
Aromatic Plants. I thought
as he showed them to me:
What a divinely-odorous couch to lie in,
and what a splendid bed

for an individuated animal to die in !

1 comment:

Wofl said...

The title of this sort-of-poem is a multiple pun.
Filou is an affectionate contraction of the name 'Philippe'.

It also means Rascal. So 'petit-filou' means 'little scamp'.

Petits-Filous (a trade-name) are a kind of flavoured fromage-blanc, or processed cottage cheese, traditionally fed to children as junket or rennet used to be in the Anglosphere.

Le Grand... before someone's name means something like 'Good Old...', or (for Irish people) 'The Bold...'. It is a term of approval which can be used ironically, as ir was in the later days of de Gaulle, known as 'Le Grand Charles or Charlot'. This had the further irony of hinting also to Charles le Grand or Charlemagne.

The title of Alain-Fournier's book, LE GRAND MEAULNES, published exactly 100 years ago, is thus untranslatable and remains in the French for most English-language editions.