Les Corbeaux

written by Émile Nelligan

Les Corbeaux

— Émile Nelligan

J'ai cru voir sur mon cœur un essaim de corbeaux
En pleine lande intime avec des vols funèbres,
De grands corbeaux venus de montagnes célèbres
Et qui passaient au clair de lune et de flambeaux.

Lugubrement, comme en cercle sur des tombeaux
Et flairant un régal de carcasses de zèbres,
Ils planaient au frisson glacé de nos ténèbres,
Agitant à leurs becs une chair en lambeaux.

Or, cette proie échue à ces démons des nuits
N'était autre que ma Vie en loque, aux ennuis
Vastes qui tournant sur elle ainsi toujours

Déchirant à larges coups de bec, sans quartier,
Mon âme, une charogne éparse au champ des jours,
Que ces vieux corbeaux dévoreront en entier.

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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