Poem written by Yannick Fouéré and published in the weekly ‘La Bretagne à Paris’ in 1930.
House in the wilderness, house of my dreams
Battered by the winds, battered by the waves
On top of tall cliffs
With the sea below
On blue waves the dream dances
Open spaces on all sides
Moorlands of Brittany in the boundless distance
Greater moorlands of the sea
Bay windows looking out to infinity
Letting in sea spray and cool air
Wave and wind together
Breakers whitening the shoreline
And the air filled with their sound
Breaking with a savage cry
Or the quiet sound of weeping
And on those days when the storm
Roaring in the distance, catches a broadside
From the revelling demons of the seas
Feeling the white rocks tremble
Singing fills the house
The wave, condemned, buckles
And at night, on the distant plain
The plaintive song of the Korrigan twirls
Spring is for the golden broom
Autumn for the heather
And the scent of the dying moors
Where the tide throws up its dust
Winter for the long raucous cries
Of petrels and cormorants
Whilst below the grey-blue waves
In wild assault, rise in rows
It is the continuous song
The poetry of every day
With the flight of the swallows
And the crashing of powerful oceans
House of my dreams, house in the wilderness
Battered by the winds, battered by the seas
Isolated and suspended
Between sky and sea.
Extract from a passage in ‘ La Maison’ in Connemara:-
The wind begins gently: it knows how to be kind
A light sea breeze is seldom absent,
fresh in the summer with the west wind,
dryer if it comes from the east.
Often just a simple caress with a slightly salty tang.
But when seasons change or heavy weather is announced,
the breeze becomes more insistent:
begins playing gently on three notes,
vibrating the metal joints that help to make windows airtight.
Already it is advisable to batten down the hatches.
Time to pull boats and curraghs out of the water, up the shore, and moor them.
The murmur of the wind becomes a hum as it takes over from the breeze.
Accelerates its pressure, finds the least little cracks and crevices.
Begins to whistle.
Soon the whistling becomes louder and louder.
The humming becomes stronger: increasing until it becomes a tumult.
Outside on the sea it blows whitecaps onto the waves.
The wind explores any openings, rushes into cracks and passages, blows hard down chimneys.
It catches on the sharp edges of the gables and on the stones in the walls, annoyed at these obstacles.
It makes doors tremble and shake.
It attacks: bending and flattening vegetation.
Calls for reinforcements that come rushing from the ends of the horizon,
sometimes all of a sudden,
sometimes in blasts with the powerful muffled noise of a heavy convoy emerging from the bowels of the earth.
It seeks to tear off roof tiles, which can be heard
straining and rattling on the bituminous felt covering the joists.
The whole roof trembles, making rafters creak.
It is the storm, the hurricane.
It slams doors shut so hard they cannot be opened again.
Its clamorous noise, its bangs and its howls whirl around with a sound like thunder and bombing that sometimes carries on for several days.
Crashing and tumult fill the sky where clouds race along.
The sea is covered in foam.
It shakes off spray like long white hair.
It takes on a melted leaden colour.
The storm blows away turf sods, empty crates and anything in its path that is not solidly tied down.
The outer walls of the pond are inaccessible.
They are covered in viscous seaweed, torn from rocks, with a thick coating of moving foam, knee deep.
If you go outside, the wind attempts to strip the clothes from you.
It knocks the breath out of you: until bending forward and catching hold of something to avoid being knocked down,
seeking any kind of shelter, you manage to get your breath back.
At times, heavy rain showers accompany the storm.
Then it is even worse:
the rain falls horizontally;
it stings and scratches your face;
it runs into your clothes.
Pushed by the hurricane it penetrates the nooks and crannies,
infiltrates the roof tiles,
seeps between the door and window frames.
It bubbles and rushes inside.
All the openings have to be stopped up,
lined with floor cloths, rags, canvas bags and old newspapers that are soon soaked.
All the gutters overflow, those that have not already been blown away…
There have been times when I have had to hang on with my men to ropes looped over the fibro-cement roof joists of our workshops to increase their resistance to the blasts of wind.
And when a storm coincides with a high tide, it is a catastrophe.
The end walls of the pond cannot be seen,
nor the rocks bordering the beach, with dull grey, green waves riding over them.
The tree trunks that we use to support our shade netting in the summer are swept away with the concrete blocks and the mooring ropes: they float in the middle of the foam.
Our floating tanks break from their anchorage,
sometimes shattering against the walls.
When the wind finally stops, exhausted, after a few hours or a few days, and we can go outside with no danger, there is nothing else for it but to take stock of the damages and repair them. This can take days, weeks or months sometimes.
Until it starts again….
It is only my body you place in the earth
The echo of my struggles I leave with you;
For neither exile, prison, fear nor war
Could prevent me, and will not prevent you.