Monthly Archives: April 2016

Colleen Thibaudeau’s “Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew”

Colleen Thibaudeau’s “Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew”

Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew

Deep in Lautrec’s lovely eyes
Struggles the surge of violet seas;
Well bred ladydogs sniffing the Musakladen airs
Put him at unease.

It is an hour of tea; furs
Unfold their brown orchids in the smoke;
From each sweet claw dangles the little dagger
Too indolent for stroke.

Waitresses wear their cup-coloured clothing
To conceal a violence like artificial hydrangeas;
Eyes that should have been running rivers into lakes together
Pass as desert strangers.

O for Bruant to come blasphemous, talking up ready storms,
Raging to give the waiting girls their cue
To come forth all clatter and vile orange welcome, and to put
An absinthe in each Honey Dew.

Colleen Thibaudeau, 1948

Chanson réaliste singer Aristide Bruant (1851-1925) in a portrait by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, courtesy wikipedia:

Chanson réaliste singer Aristide Bruant (1851-1925) in a portrait by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, courtesy wikipedia.org

“Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew” first appeared in Contemporary Verse (35, Summer 1951) and can also be found in The Artemesia Book (1991), available from Brick Books.

Toronto’s Honey Dew Restaurant (1948) was on the mezzanine level of the Odeon Carlton Theatre (20 Carlton Street near Yonge).

“The Clock Tower” by Colleen Thibaudeau

“The Clock Tower” by Colleen Thibaudeau

The Clock Tower

When they pull my clock tower down
I will no longer walk this town.

At night her lucent face is seen
Homely and bright as margarine,

And when I wake when I should sleep
Sounds her Ding Bong sweet
And heart-sticking as the Knife-Man’s cry
When his squeaking cart goes by.

Children, chickens,
Matrons with baskets, old men with sticks, all stop
to gawk at my clock;

The shock-headed with the frost
Kid who sells papers, the popcorn man
Buttery knuckled, the shifter of ashcans,

Firebugs, tire-stealers, track fixers for the TTC,
Somnambulists, commune with me —

And we all move and love
To the grace of her sweet face.

Colleen Thibaudeau, 1949

First published in The Canadian Forum (30, July 1950), “The Clock Tower” also appears in The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, an anthology of poems for children published by Oxford University Press in 1968.

"The Clock Tower" by Colleen Thibaudeau from the Oxford University Press anthology The Wind Has Wings (1968).

“The Clock Tower” by Colleen Thibaudeau from the Oxford University Press anthology The Wind Has Wings (1968). The clock tower illustration is by Elizabeth Cleaver.

The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, 1968, Oxford University Press. Compiled by Mary Alice Downie and Barbara Robertson; illustrated by Elizabeth Cleaver. (ISBN-0-19-540026-7)

The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, 1968, Oxford University Press. Compiled by Mary Alice Downie and Barbara Robertson; illustrated by Elizabeth Cleaver. (ISBN-0-19-540026-7)

© 2017 Colleen Thibaudeau