Le Badinage

164z Badinage 1, 15th August 2018

`Le Badinage’ sketch 1, by Jac May, illustration for the poem 14th August 2018.  Two young chaps sit on the wall above the river in Chinon.  Badinage = idle, inconsequential chatter.  This poem – a first version, and this being a first stab at a sketch to go with it – was inspired by the wonderful piece of music of this name by Marin Marais.  You can listen to a terrific version of this music at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBLu0KQF80U


  1.     or, Important Considerations & Ultimate Questions after three or more glasses of whiskey


    1.       I am not famous for my dancing

    however, I feel utterly alive

    sitting in my corner considering the wonders of the earth

    and the glories of the day,

    the aspirations of my life

    (also, let me say, the beauty of my wife

    the Arts that strew my way

    and the mind’s constant rebirth).

    I feel utterly alive.


    Others do indeed set off fireworks

    hurl themselves into contortions of ecstatic dance

    (Believe it or not I will always be glad of it!)

    the beat of the music makes them move about on the floor

    while a melody transports them to a mountaintop

    the other side of memories;

    they clamber onto ancient monuments

    and deck the dullest civic utilities

    with brightly coloured flags and banners.

    You with leaping joy do festival

    and all the while I sit here

    transfixed to the chair

    by thoughts that will not let me go,

    may even close my ears and eyes

    to hear more profoundly the surge of bars

    and see more clearly cascades of luminosities.

    Dancing paralyses me.


    I have tried to dance,

    but my feet step on my best intentions,

    sensations, shudderings, fantasies,

    auditions, envisagings, imaginings and all my

    crises of apprehension.

    My intention

    is not, no, not to be sullen or to fall by

    the way of Life and true elation,

    certainly not  imagining my way superior.

    I do but dream

    a mansion inhabited by the music.

    This is indeed a simple story of one

    left alone, terrified, saturated by bliss,

    every nerve compressed by notes

    that like threads just manage to hold me

    inches above the abyss

    and this

    here is the dance floor

    of this reeling, burning Earth

    abandoned to the antics of unchoreographed, crazy, leaping


    In spite of this extraordinary movement within

    and the concatenations of harmony

    and its sometimes beauty

    I am not famous for my dancing.


Jac May, totally unfinished badinage, August 2018!

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