Denys Corbet

Richard Fleming and myself went to visit Joan Ozanne who is a mine of local information about local culture. She showed us an old book called Les Feuilles de la Foret/Les Fieilles d’la Fouarêt/ The Leaves of the Forest) by Denys Corbet, published in 1891. Richard and I had a quick thumb through, and there was some interesting content.

Wikipedia has some useful information on Denys Corbet giving his dates as 22 May 1826 – 21 April 1909). Corbet described himself as the Le Draïn Rimeux (The Last Poet). He is best known for his poems, especially the epic L’Touar de Guernesy, a picaresque tour of the parishes of Guernsey and Les Feuilles de la Foret (The Leaves of the Forest) among others. Contemporary Canadian artist Christian Corbet is a cousin of Denys Corbet. A forthcoming biography by Christian Corbet is currently being written.

Also this new site The Official Website of Denys Corbet appears to be being created.

Corbet wrote in Guernsey French, French and English – rather like Métivier, his older contemporary.

Here is the opening to an amusing poem called Beards.

Ho! all ye sons of froth and smoke,
Who daily to the eyes must soak
In reeking lather that might choke
Old Nick, thus smeared :
Come, hear me sing, ye smooth chinned folk
My theme’s the beard.

All ye who every morning mow
Crops that have no time to grow
Bid you but once the luxury know
Shown in my lyric,
You would your strops and razors throw
Where th’wise threw physic.

We children of the good old school,
Observing Nature’s every rule,
Wear a long beard to keep us cool
In summer season,
And warm in winter–where’s the fool
Can better reason?

About Peter Kenny

I lead a double life. Identity #1. A writer of poems, plays, libretti, prose, journalism and so on. Identity #2: A marketing outlier, working with London creative agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative consultant.
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