Whatever the subject of poetry, no doubt it always speaks to us of time – of the passing of time, of the weather on the apple trees as on our lives – it is both immanent and metaphysical. Author at Flammarion d’Entre-temps (1997), Echoir (1999), Eté (2005), Eté II (2010), Etc (2016), Et (2020), Bernard Chambaz signs, with e soon silent, the near end of a cycle where, if the titles go downhill, remains this “divine murmur/ where the future anterior reigns / to see and say / in what is / the brilliance of what will have been / without order / of sight / consciousness of what is no longer”. This temporal progression, far from being linear, likes resumption, and the faithful readers of Chambaz will not be surprised to find there both Anne, his “lover”, and Martin, one of their three sons, who has disappeared. accidentally in the summer of 1992, at the age of 16. “You don’t fade away – no – not at all / little kingfisher / even gone forever / you stay with us till we die. Freeing himself from the time that is combined according to learned norms, he claims the presence of the absent, sees him in an eagle’s flight above the house he lives with Anne: “and without telling us anything we both thought/ (…) that you were dropping by to say hello”. Thus space welcomes the past, “and if I rehash it, writes Chambaz, it’s because I have nothing better to say / even if our hearts are broken even if / the horizon dwindles without recourse / life obliges us / it’s as simple as that. »
Life obliges us. A marvelous formula to which each line of the poet testifies. But contrary to what the verb might lead one to believe, those who are obliged to live have the goal of freedom, the one who wants to “do only what matters to her heart” and fights even in the rhythm of the verse against the constraints of grammar. and chronology. Thus the poet, like Verlaine, has a preference for the odd which brings, he writes, “its note of imbalance”. Each poem therefore comprises twenty-seven lines and not twenty-eight as in the traditional ballad, and Chambaz humorously plays with the variations made possible by the “e”, precisely, depending on whether it is “ready to fall” or not. Thus, the “chwal”, “Saint-D/nis” or “the Sundays” acquire a blissful independence in the service of “the very beautiful”. The feminine rhyme of the silent “e”, facing the “strong e / which would be masculine”, explodes all the norms, recovering through time other uses, spellings that have disappeared since the 16th century, gender variations. The “beaulx soleilz” therefore shine on “your white bath slip” or “your main”, one can “sit” under “a tree” to listen to “the zoiseaus”. And always “the poem is sound/echo and ransacked”.
Chambaz adopts the formula of Descartes in The Meditations: “Neither secure my feet in the bottom / nor swim. “To be in the current of the language, to circulate in that of the admired poets, Apollinaire, E. E. Cummings, who mistrusted capital letters and punctuation, Frédéric Jacques Temple and his “ramblings”, James Sacré or Denis Roche, to make them heard, sometimes imitate them, such are the continual movements that deeply animate this undulating book. Chambaz likes traveling, as we know, all his work testifies to it, and we travel the world with him, so full of “images to save”, under “big lilac skies / to drink like whey”. The poet, however, is not a nomad for the anecdote or the panorama, the road keeps alive, the landscape too, and the “amazing” ball of a mimosa, for example, “we are to survive / without doubting for a moment / that a book of poems retains this/ extravagant/ power to help/ live. »
But the heart of soon-to-be-mute e is precisely this vowel, the feminine rhyme, the feminine. “To recognize that woman enhances/ civilization/ and to hold you tight in my arms/ again and again – love –/ as if nothing for / half a century / has changed / or so little. The poet addresses his “more-than-queen-forever-ever”, his “dapper”, “the pompom of his life” and each poem to Anne is like the anniversary of their fifty years of marriage. .
After Ronsard and his Cassandre, Marot and his blazon of the beautiful tétin, Apollinaire and Lou, the strength and audacity of this love poetry come on the contrary from the fact that it frees itself from youth without losing any of its intensity. “Yes I’m watching your first steps / in the dawn / because we’re here for that / as long as we’re here. And if e soon dumb is “the seal of a countdown”, it also pays homage to time: “even if – I am/ not stupid – I know/ that we have aged that our bodies/ and our souls bear the scars of it/ I also know/ – I see it – what hasn’t changed. Thus age takes nothing away from desire or “suzerain voluptuousness”: “and your face / at that moment is absolutely as / it was thirty or forty years ago”, writes Chambaz . Her poetry, beyond tenderness and melancholy, is full of a magnificent life force and celebrates “that sweet mystery of the prairie of Come Back / where we roll / never last time / the apricots the hummingbirds the kisses / because “Nothing dies, death is not true”.