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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Tribute to Lazare Ponticelli & to those who survived or tried to survive WWI

Lazare Ponticelli, was the longest and last French surviver of the "Great War" The 1st World War (WWI) Lazard died today. A short well documented tribute to Lazard was published by The Economist.

I did not intend to write so soon on work inspired by H. Macdiarmid, soldier in the British Army medical corps who wrote the following lines which I find beautiful and poignant, a plea or prayer in essence, hence my desire to translate them into french. There is another reason concerning close family, some survived some died! Lazard & Hugh survived...

Au-delà de l’exile

(Beyond Exile by H. Macdiarmid trad par J.A. -Original in english - scroll down)

Que dieu soit loué, mes pieds peuvent encore trouver
Dans ces terres lointaines le vieux chemin de la colline,
Et piétine toujours aucune glaise étrangère
Mais leur gadoue, familière terrine

Et tout l’état étendu de l’océan
Ne sera qu’une lamelle brillante
Qui glisse entre les champs ondulants
Pour ne trouver aucune mer étrangère

Aucun toit d'arbre d’étranger m’abrite
Même que je voyage au lointain détour
Et les ligues qui nous séparent, ne sert qu’à me rapprocher
Aux cotés de mon amour

Et si je passe l’ultime borne
Et bien, je serai chez moi à nouveau-
Le pas rapide à la porte discrète
Les yeux pétillants à la vitrine !

Salonique, 1916.

Traduit par J.A. (6 Juin 2001)
.A short well documented tribute to Lazard was published by The Economist. This includes several of his outstanding exploits & personal memories as well as his credo formed before, during and especially in his long-life after WWI. His thoughts on his war experience went always to those less fortunate than he, to his comrades who lost their young lives and families. The Economist article does not forget the company "Ponticelli Frères.", Link in english.
founded in 1921, by The Ponticelli family; Lazard and is two brothers, all Italian immigrants.

Beyond Exile

Praise God that l my feet can find
In distant lands the old hill-road,
And tread always no alien clay
But their familiar sod.

And all the ocean’s broad estate
Be but gleaming band to me
That slips between the bending fields
To find no foreign sea.

No stranger’s roof tree covers me,
Albeit I travel far and wide,
And sundering leagues but closed bind
Me to my darling’s side.

And if I pass the utmost borne
Why, then, I shall be home again-
The quick step at the quiet door,
The grey eyes at the pane!

Salonika, 1916 by Hugh MacDiarmid (died 1978)
Complete Works Vol. 1, Pub. Penguin
Ed Michael Greave & W.R. Aitkin
©Christopher Murray Grieve (1978)
© Valda Grieve (1985) & family?

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