[ilds] 100 Year Milestone for Cendrars

Ken Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Thu Sep 12 07:38:17 PDT 2013

I just noticed it’s a major centennial for Miller and Durrell’s friend
Blaise Cendrars – 100 years since the publication of his epic poem “Prose
du Transsibérien et de la petite Jeanne de France” (1913). This brief 16
line excerpt appears to be an eyewitness account of 1905 Russo-Japanese War:

*I saw*

*I saw the silent trains the black trains returning from the Far East and
passing like phantoms*

*And my eye, like a rear signal light, is still running along behind those

*At Talga 100,000 wounded were dying for lack of care*

*I visited the hospitals of Krasnoyarsk*

*And at Khilok we encountered a long convoy of soldiers who had lost their

*In the pest houses I saw gaping wounds bleeding full blast*

*And amputated limbs danced about or took flight into the raucous air*

*Fire was on all the faces in all the hearts*

*Idiot fingers rapped on all the windowpanes*

*And in the press of fear glances burst open like abscesses*

*In all the stations where all the cars were burning*

*And I saw*

*I saw trains with 60 engines fleeing at top speed pursued by flaming
horizons and by flocks of crows flying desperately after them*


*In the direction of Port Arthur.*

Powerful writing, quoted from the New Directions Paperback Blaise Cendrars

Thanks - Ken
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