Francois Villon


1455 – Dans une rixe au cloître de Saint-Benoît, il tue un prêtre nommé Philippe Chermoye ou Sermoise, et pour échapper aux conséquences de ce meurtre, il quitte Paris

I fell across this passage at the age of 19, in the Groot Zal of the Katholiek Universiteit Leuven. The library was a safe haven if you were killing time while waiting for a free meal. I lived right across the street on the Arendstraat in a fourth floor walk up with cold running water a bed, and a john at the end of a three meter hallway. The news that a Poet named Villon had killed a priest cheered me up no end. He’d cut up that monk when the Katholiek Universiteit Leuven was 20 years old. Villon taught me the art of false repentance, vagabonding and could twist a dagger into a priest with his poetry as well…

Ce ne suis je pas qui leur donne,
Mais de tous enffans sont les mères
Et Dieux, qui ainsi les guerdonne,
Pour quy seuffrent peines ameres.
Il fault qu’il vivent, les beaulx peres,
ET mesmement ceulx de Paris :
S’ilz font plaisirs à noz commeres,
Ilz ayment ainsi les marys.

 When we’re pouring Gigondas down our gullet after watching Etoile Sportive Catalane slugging it out with Hagetmas, their federal 1 rivals in Argelès sur Mer, Georges likes to read passages from the Testament,while cooking up boulettes de viande à la catalane.

Villon was a poet, a thief and a vagabond, his spirit is that of the troubadour poets, the heretics, the spiritual father of Rimbaud, the stiletto bearing psychopath of another time. Luckily, de Gourmont, also inspired by Villon, exhumed the Rome low latin vulgar poets. The truest words come from the bottom, only bums and thieves care about language; it’s always been that way.

La pluye nous a debuez et lavez
Et le soleil deseichez et noircis.
Pies, corbeaulx nous ont les yeulx cavez
Et arraché la barbe et les sourvilz.
Jamis nul temps nous ne sommes assis :
Puis ça, puis là, comme le vent varie
A son plaisir sans cesser nous charie,
Plus becquetez d’oyseaulx que dez à coudre

The rhythms are like Bukowski’s.