Franz Marc tries writing Symbolist poetry

Franz Marc’s best known writing is his public manifesto-ing, and also his correspondence with colleagues and family. But Marc also wrote on the covers of and inside his various sketchbooks all the time. This verse from around 1910 is really trippy in a Rimbaud sort of way. Some of the imagery and words come up again in paintings and painting titles. Thomas de Kayser, the editor of the volume in which this appears, organizes this material by theme very agreeably.  Text in French follows the English translation.

Notes in the sketchbook XXVIII
— A pink rain fell over meadows.
— The air is like green glass.
— The girl [observed] looked into the water, the water was clear [as] crystal, the girl was crying.
— Trees had their growth rings, the animals their veins.

Notes in the sketchbook XXXI
The storm roared.
I entered the house and saw all
A tall woman red small black cat [playing] on the green table.
Kraak, lightning strikes the vehicle – the beautiful little cats were playing with the woman, she smiled – ah ah [poor] man and horse are [is] dead. [The man cries] [sky] the angel of fear knocks at the window; the [poor woman] I could shake the red heart of the woman and black kittens knew the green table – what it [?], red and black and green? Three colors give it a thought? If we give to the red heart shape, the black that [one of three interspersed] small kittens, green form of [a large square plate ?…] the square.

I meditate on that thought.
The red heart of the woman breaks.
It [comes] springs a [blood …] [a streak of blood] A stream of blood [across the sky due] which falls into the river, it flows through the now red green pastures grazed by sheep or black.
The storm has withdrawn his hand from the earth.
The blue sky [?] Ogle like a gigantic glass eye the scene [of] red, green, and black, this thought is not it terrible? […] Do you understand what the painters paint?

Notes dans le cahier de croquis XXVIII

— une pluie rose tombait sur des prés verts.

— l’air resemblait a du verre vert.

— la fille [observait] regardait dans l’eau; l’eau était claire [propre] comme du cristal; la fille pleurait.

— les arbres montraient leurs anneaux de croissance; les animaux leurs veines.

Notes dans le cahier de croquis XXXI

L’orage grondait.

J’entrai dans la maison et vis tout

Une grande femme rouge; des petits chat noirs [jouaient] sur la table verte.

Kraak, la foudre a frappe le véhicule — les petis chats jouaient avec la femme, elle souriait — ah ah [le pauvre] homme et cheval sont [est] morts. [L’homme pleure] [ciel] l’ange de la crainte frappe a la fenetre; [la pauvre femme] je voyais trembler le coeur rouge de la femme et les chatons noirs su la table verte — qu’est-ce que c’est [?], rouge et noir et vert? Trois couleurs donnent elles une pensée? Si l’on donne au rouge la forme du coeur, au noir celle [de l’un des trois entremeles] des petits chatons, au vert la forme [d’un grand carre plat?…] du carré.

Je veux mediter cette pensée.

Le coeur rouge de la femme se brise.

Il en [sort] jaillit un [sang…] [une raie de sang] un flot de sang [en travers due ciel] qui tombe dans la riviere, elle coule maintenant rouge a travers les vertes prairies ou paissent des moutons noirs.

L’orage a retiré sa main de la terre.

Le ciel bleu [?] reluque tel un gigantesque oeil de verre la scene [de] rouge, vert, et noir, cette pensée n’est-elle pas terrible? […] Comprenez-vous ce que le peintres peignent?


[1] Franz Marc, E?crits et correspondances, ed. Thomas de Kayser, (Paris: Ecole nationale superieure des beaux-arts, 2006), 182-183

What do you think?