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Setting Suns
Posted by: Dewy (
Date: June 26, 2003 01:29AM

Hi Ladies and Gentlemen,

Why " the Suns " is in plural form as in this poem :

Setting suns ( Solei couchants )

A weakened paddle
Pour by the fields
Setting suns.
Delude with soft songs
My heart which is forgotten
With the setting suns.
And of strange dreams
Like suns
Setting on the strikes,
Phantoms vermeils,
Ravel without dreams,
Ravel, similar
With large suns
Setting on the strikes.

Paul Verlaine (Poems saturniens)

What did Verlaine mean when he said " suns" . Any inputs are greatly appreciated

Re: Setting Suns
Posted by: Les (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:30AM

This is just a guess. But just like native Americans here often used the term "many moons" to signify the passage of time, I believe the author is using the term "setting suns" to signify many occurences of the sunset.


Re: Setting Suns
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 26, 2003 11:10AM

Faulty translation, perhaps?

Soleils couchants

Une aube affaiblie
Verse par les champs
La mélancolie
Des soleils couchants
La mélancolie
Berce de doux champs
Mon cœur qui s’oublie
Aux soleils couchants.
Et d’étranges rêves,
Comme des soleils
Couchants sur les grèves,
Fantômes vermeils,
Défilent sans trêves,
Défilent pareils
À des grands soleils
Couchants sur les grèves.

Setting Suns

A weakened dawn
Spreads over the fields
The melancholy
Of setting suns.
Cradles with tender songs
My oblivious heart
Amid setting suns.
And strange dreams
Like setting suns
On beaches,
Vermillion ghosts,
Process ceaselessly
Process like
Great suns
Setting on the beaches.

Poèmes saturniens, 1866

Re: Setting Suns
Posted by: dennis (
Date: June 26, 2003 11:32AM

I think he is talking about the progression of days. Days filled with
suns and dreams and.... I hope this strikes a chord. best dlc

Re: Setting Suns
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: June 26, 2003 01:23PM

The sun is actually a star- so all the stars are really suns. I don't think that that was Verlaine's point, but it sounds almost profound, so I'll toss it in.


Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:39PM

My first thought was that the setting sun was reflected in water ... but that's another poem, I guess.

Here's what I found under "Soleils Couchants de Paul Verlaine expliqué"

"Le spectacle du soleil couchant où se mêlent les ors et les rouges invite le poète à la rêverie. Le pluriel de soleils indique que le paysage n'est pas à prendre au pied de la lettre, il s'agit d'un paysage rêvé, reflet d'un état d'âme. Le poème s'articule autour d'une double thématique, celle du rêve, vers 4 à 8 et celle beaucoup plus longue des cauchemars, vers 9 à 16."

. . . [] />
My French is less than elementary, but I think "reflet d'un état d'âme" and "s'agit d'un paysage rêvé" indicate that the use of the plural creates a dreamy-ness as the poet remembers days of love gone by.

Re: Setting Suns
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 28, 2003 03:02PM

Google's is prolly worse than yours, but:

"the spectacle of the setting sun where golds and the reds mix invites the poet with the daydream. The sun plural indicates that the landscape is not to take literally, it acts of a dreamed landscape, reflection of a state of heart. The poem articulates around a double set of themes, that of the dream, towards 4 to 8 and that much longer of the nightmares, towards 9 to 16."


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