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 Literary Blog Hop

The Literary Blog Hop is a weekly event held at The Blue Bookcase prompting book bloggers to answer a question.

What is your favourite poem and why?

I am glad this week question is not too tough as I am running a bit out of energy.

Without any hesitation, I will say “Et un sourire” by Paul Eluard.  I find it very difficult to connect with poetry.  It is a form I am not comfortable with.  I am not saying I do not like poetry; there are many poems I like and I like discovering poetry.  However, it is a form I find difficult to engage with.

I wrote a post on “Et un sourire” a long time ago and I actually give my own translation of the poem in it.  What I like about this poem is its simplicity and the hope it conveys.  I have always connected it with the suicide of my grandmother and the death of other people I love.  I think that is why I am so touched by this poem.  I also like its emphasis on the importance of smiling and connecting with others, something we should remember in these difficult times.

That reminds of an anecdote.  One day, as an adolescent, I was wandering in the streets in Paris.  I used to do quite a lot when visiting my mother there.  I used to spend time looking around.  I passed that beggar and smiled to him.  I was young and did not have any money.  However he stood up and thanked me for giving him a smile and said how important it was for him (more than money) as so many people would just pass by and ignore him.  Something to ponder…

I hope you’ll follow the link and read the poem.  My translation is not great, but I still hope it will touch you as much as it has touched me.

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I recently took this picture of a ladybird, and I wanted to share it with you. While trying to find something to say on the ladybird, I discovered that this insect was named bóín Dé in Irish, which means “God’s little cow”. In French, it is called “bête à bon Dieu” (“God’s animal”). I like the way the animal in one language is a little cow in another!

I’ve also come across this nice poem by Victor Hugo:

La Coccinelle

Elle me dit : Quelque chose 
Me tourmente. Et j’aperçus
Son cou de neige, et, dessus,
Un petit insecte rose.

J’aurais dû, -mais, sage ou fou,
À seize ans on est farouche, –
Voir le baiser sur sa bouche
Plus que l’insecte à son cou.

On eût dit un coquillage ;
Dos rose et taché de noir.
Les fauvettes pour nous voir
Se penchaient dans le feuillage.

Sa bouche fraîche était là ;
Je me courbais sur la belle,
Et je pris la coccinelle ;
Mais le baiser s’envola.

– Fils, apprends comme on me nomme,
Dit l’insecte du ciel bleu,
Les bêtes sont au bon Dieu,
Mais la bêtise est à l’homme.

And in English… (my own translation):

The Ladybird

 

And she told me: Something

Is bothering me. And I saw

Her snow-white neck, and, above it,

A little pink insect.

 

I should have, – but wise or mad,

At sixteen one is timid –

Seen the kiss on her mouth

More than the bug on her neck.

 

It looked like a shellfish;

Pink back dotted with black.

To see us, the warblers

Were leaning in the foliage.

 

Her fresh mouth was there;

I curved over the belle,

And I took the ladybird;

But the kiss flew away.

 

– Son, Learn how I am named,

Said the bug from the blue sky,

Animals belong to God,

But foolishness belongs to man.

  

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