Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Victor Burny (1893 - 1918) – Belgian poet

Born in Grammont, Belgium on 7th November 1893, Victor was educated at the Institut Saint-Louis in Brusells.  He volunteered to join the Belgian Army in WW1.  He died of pneumonia on 30th October 1918 in an ambulance in Calais, France, on the way to hospital for treatment.

Victor contributed to:
 "L'envol", "L'essor", "Les feuillets intimes” and it seems he wrote poems in French and Flemish.

The following poem by Victor Burny was written at Dixmude, Belgium in 1915:


Dominant les pres verts de son pays flamand,
L’observateur est là, posté dans la pénombre,
Scutant l’éclair lointain qui surgin et qui sombre
Sur le ciel tern et gris, à chaque éclatement.

Il surveille le tir et parle sourdement,
Ses ongles sont crispé dans la chaux des décombres,
Et ses yeux grands ouverts, comme des miroirs sombres
Sur un logis ruiné sont dardés fixement.

A sa voix, les canons aux soudaines rafales,
Secouant le terrain de décharges brutales,
Ont concentré leur feu, là-bas, à l’horizon.

Et l’humble observateur – ô cruelle ironie –
Doroge posément l’angoissante agonie
Des derniers pans de murs de sa vieille maison.


The Observer

Scanning the green meadows of his Flemish homeland,
The observer is there, on duty in the gloomy light,
Watching the distant flash that threatens
The gray sky as each shell bursts.

He watches each salvo and speaks quietly,
His nails dig into the limestone rubble,
And his eyes, wide open, like dark mirrors,
Stare fixedly at the ruins of a house.

At his command, the guns with sudden bursts,
Make the earth tremble with their brutal discharges,
Concentrating their fire over there on the horizon.

And the humble observer - oh cruel irony -
Watches in agonised silence
As the last sections of walls of his old former home crumble.