Monday, January 30, 2012

Tuesday Poem: The Bird, by Victor Hugo

Be like the bird, who
Pausing in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him
Yet sings
Knowing he has wings.

- Victor Hugo
(translator unknown)

I walk to and from work most days, if I can get up early enough (it takes about half an hour each way). On my walks, I often find myself not noticing my surroundings, as my mind goes its own way. So I try to counteract this tendency and deliberately notice what is around me, jotting down half a dozen small observations per day.

Last week I noticed a sparrow land on a dandelion stalk, which promptly bent itself horizontal under the bird's weight. The sparrow ended up perched over the gutter like a tightrope walker, before it flew off. I thought there might be poem material there somewhere - then coincidentally, a day or two later, I found the above on the internet. You can see it as a rather charming Youtube video - I tried, but failed, to embed it, so you will need to click on the link.

From my google search it seems that this is the whole poem, although most of Victor Hugo's poems are longer. If I am wrong and anyone can enlighten me as to the rest, please leave a comment.

Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) was a poet, playwright and novelist. Within France his fame comes first from his poetry, but outside France he is best-known for his plays, Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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1 comment:

Elizabeth Welsh said...

It is an anomaly, isn't it? Being so short - I have only dipped into Hugo's much longer poems (and his prose) myself, but this little gem is perfect. What a find! Thanks for posting, Catherine.