Of Beasts and Men...


[Image: ‘Porc’ from a series of Animals and Equivalent Men by Charles LeBrun (1619 – 1690)]

 

As mentioned before, it is the province of the adept ‘Flâneur’ to perceive not only a person’s general character (hopes, fears, vices, virtues, etc.) through careful observation while strolling the metropolitan trottoirs, but to actually dig even deeper into the fundamental bestial undercurrents that each passer-by would rather conceal than confront. Which animal would you be, by the way?



 

ANATOMIE

 

 

Dans la rue, au théâtre, au bal, je décompose

Les visages. Toujours j’y retrouve le Mal,

Qui sous les teints cuivrés, la graisse ou la chlorose

Découpe en grimaçant un profile d’animal.

 

La brute qui végète au fond de l’âme, impose

Au galbe lentement son rictus bestial ;

L’être humaine se dissout et se métamorphose

En chien, en bouc, en porc, en hyène, en chacal.

 

L’Avarice, le Vol, la Ruse et la Luxure,

Sous le faux vernis des civilisations

Trahissent lâchement notre ignoble nature :

 

Les muscles vigoureux et les carnations

Superbes font aux os d’inutiles toilettes,

Où transparaît l’horreur intime des squelettes.

 

Iwan Gilkin, (« La Nuit », 1987)

 

 

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ANATOMY

 

 

In streets, theatres, balls, I deconstruct

Faces. Always I find Evil there.

In well-bronzed skins or pallid, all greasy are tucked

Unseen, a grimace and an animal’s stare.

 

The brute that vegetates in each soul’s depths imposes

Its presence slowly, on a curved rictus bestial;

The human essence dissolves itself and metamorphoses

Into dog, goat, pig, hyena or jackal.

 

Greed, Thievery, Deceit and Lust,

Under civilization’s false veneer

Betrays each nature with disgust.

 

Yet muscles vigorous and complexions clear;

To bones are but useless raiment arrayed,

Concealing hidden horrors in mere skeletons unflayed.

 

 

Iwan Gilkin, La Nuit, 1897.

[Traduction Anglaise: Sardonique Schadenfreude Rictus / Dr. Bathybius, 2007].