J-L Forain’s take on Verlaine’s Poem



Paris being not a spit
Worth spittin, I am gonna split.
But ‘ow my soul’s a poet’s innit,
Sundays when me gaff I quit,
The country’s bout as cool as shit.
The overland’s a wheelbarrer
Cartin’ us out past the suburbs
Into bits of blue for yer
Where the bubbly may not flow
But’s on the out an where we go.
She puts on er Snow-white frock
My white pipe’s what I gets out
Ain’t no shirt, but I got cuffs.
Helagance reigns. They oik out roughs
From where we likes to stroll about.
Ere we are, doll, how bout that?
Dozen oysters, same as Barrett’s,
Wenches like you get in tart shops,
Cos it’s just like home with Pops
Out on manoeuvres, gettit?
Seems my tool is what you covet.
Sure, I’ll sign an think nowt of it.
Better country than deported.
Even should it get me snorted,
Can’t be worse, just get it sorted.
Paul Verlaine 1844-1896


The poem came out in 1890, but was written around 1871 (time of the Franco-Prussian War – when Forain was a friend of Rimbaud and Verlaine). However it was wrongly given the title “A Rogue takes a Stroll in the Country” by Huysmans in his Modern Art. Forain did a notebook of watercolors inspired by each verse of this poem, and this is one of the two which survive. He also did this wonderful sketch of Rimbaud.

Rimbaud by Forain


About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
This entry was posted in Poetry, art and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to J-L Forain’s take on Verlaine’s Poem

  1. J. Brookes says:

    What’s it called in French, Anthony?


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