Vieille Armoire

written by Émile Nelligan

Vieille Armoire

— Émile Nelligan

Dors, fouillis vénéré de vieilles porcelaines
Froides comme des yeux de morts, tous clos, tous froids,
Services du Japon qui disent l'autrefois
De maints riches repas de belles châtelaines !


Ton bois a des odeurs moites d'anciennes laines,
Parfums de choses d'or aux fragiles effrois;
Tes tasses ont causé sur des lèvres de rois
De leurs Hébés, de leurs images peintes, pleines


De pastels lumineux, de vieux jardins fleuris,
Arabesque où le ciel avait de bleus souris...
Reliquaire d'antan, ô grande, ô sombre armoire !


Hier, quand j'entr'ouvris tes portes de bois blond,
Je crus y voir passer la spectacle mémoire
De couples indistincts menés au réveillon.

About the poet


Émile Nelligan

Émile Nelligan was a francophone poet from Quebec, Canada. Nelligan was born in Montreal on December 24, 1879 at 602, rue de La Gauchetière. He was the first son of David Nelligan, who arrived in Quebec from Dublin, Ireland at the age of 12. His mother was Émilie Amanda Hudon, from Rimouski, Quebec. He had two sisters, Béatrice and Gertrude. A follower of Symbolism, his poetry was profoundly influenced by Octave Crémazie, Louis Fréchette, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Georges Rodenbach, Maurice Rollinat and Edgar Allan Poe. A precocious talent like Arthur Rimbaud, his first poems were published in Montreal when he was 16 years old. In 1899, Nelligan suffered a major psychotic breakdown from which he never recovered. He never had a...

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