French poet and Resistance fighter René Char was born on June 14, 1907. It’s appropriate to honor him and the other brave men and women of the Resistance today because June 14, 1940 was the day Paris was occupied by German forces. He was the son of the bourgeoisie who studied literature at university. He moved to Paris and became associated with surrealists such as André Breton with whom he remained associated throughout the 30s. Some of his other friends were Albert Camus and Pablo Picasso.
During the occupation, he took the nom de guerre Captain Alexandre and managed a parachute drop zone. He wrote about his experiences in his volume of poems Feuillets d’Hypnos, published in 1946. His Fureur et mystère, published two years later, was listed at one of the top 100 books of the century by Le Monde. After the war, he joined a different type of Resistance movement – opposing nuclear weapons storage in Provence. He died on Februay 19, 1988 at the fine age of 80.
Today’s quotation, l’essential est sans cesse menacé par l’insignifiant (lay sohnsee-el eh sohn sess menasay par lansinnifEahn) is by Char. It means “the essential is without cease menaced by the insignificant.” It’s true, isn’t it? We get pulled away by busy work from things that are more important.
One after the other, they wished to predict a happy future for us,
With an eclipse in their image and all the anguish befitting us!
We disdained this equality,
Answered no to their assiduous words.
We followed the stony way the heart traced for us
Up to the plains of the air and the unique silence.
We made our demanding love bleed,
Our happiness wrestle each pebble.
They say at this moment that, beyond their vision,
The hail terrifies them, more than the snow of the dead
- Monument and museum of the French Resistance (spencermeetseurope.wordpress.com)
- Woman’s hidden war diary is set for the screen (yorkshirepost.co.uk)
- “The German soldiers had the reputation of being “korrekt””. (pauleisen.blogspot.com)
- Camus in Combat (avastdesert.wordpress.com)