In Between, a poem




It’s cold but warm
we walk
next to trees next to fields
My father tells me calmly
in a normal tone
he worries sick about his life
as there’s a woman
at home
(she’s fiery, insolent)
who does not exist
Not my mum
It’s day but dark, gnawing
Let’s have a walk, dad
in silence, but our steps
and a dog endlessly barks
muffled from a farm we don’t see
and the weeping of one lost bird
invisibly weeping but maybe just telling
something ordinary
It’s cold, but warm
I let dad think she’s real I listen
He tells me about
this unknown person
she’s strong and he feels unhappy, defenseless
he has to obey
I hum I whisper we walk
I let him I listen I watch around
we turn here now
on the mud, almost dry
along block of black trees
and in the distance colors in horizontal shades
cut immobile clouds
It’s cold, but warm
There, a first house
the village!
Let’s go home, dad
I take his arm in the dark, we’re on the road
We follow the street along
windows glimmer
Before the door he stops
and stares at my eyes

Baudelaire poem : “Be quiet and more discreet…


Be quiet and more discreet, O my Grief.
You cried out for the Evening; even now it falls:
A gloomy atmosphere envelops the city,
Bringing peace to some, anxiety to others.

While the vulgar herd of mortals, under the scourge
Of Pleasure, that merciless torturer,
Goes to gather remorse in the servile festival,
My Grief, give me your hand; come this way

Far from them. See the dead years in old-fashioned gowns
Lean over the balconies of heaven;
Smiling Regret rise from the depths of the waters;

The dying Sun fall asleep beneath an arch, and
Listen, darling, to the soft footfalls of the Night
That trails off to the East like a long winding-sheet.

C. Baudelaire


I found many other translations on the web. You can have fun for a moment with the “translation choices” problem…

The title itself is a mess : Recueillement is contemplation, meditation, recollection, it contains “closure with myself alone” and remembrance, immobility.

“Sois sage, ô my douleur”. Douleur? It’s pain. But it can be, I agree, grief, or sorrow, or despair. But I’d say “pain”…

This poem is about a guy to try to calm down his pain, felt as a little person he knows very very well. Trying maybe to distract her, to… tame her?

Thanks for reading!






Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille.
Tu réclamais le Soir ; il descend ; le voici :
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,
Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,
Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,
Ma douleur, donne-moi la main ; viens par ici,

Loin d’eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,
Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées ;
Surgir du fond des eaux le Regret souriant ;

Le Soleil moribond s’endormir sous une arche,
Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l’Orient,
Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.

Baudelaire poem : “A port is a delightful place of rest for a…

The Port

A port is a delightful place of rest for a soul weary of life’s battles. The vastness of the sky, the mobile architecture of the clouds, the changing coloration of the sea, the twinkling of the lights, are a prism marvelously fit to amuse the eyes without ever tiring them. The slender shapes of the ships with their complicated rigging, to which the surge lends harmonious oscillations, serve to sustain within the soul the taste for rhythm and beauty. Also, and above all, for the man who no longer possesses either curiosity or ambition, there is a kind of mysterious and aristocratic pleasure in contemplating, while lying on the belvedere or resting his elbows on the jetty-head, all these movements of men who are leaving and men who are returning, of those who still have the strength to will, the desire to travel or to enrich themselves.

Charles Baudelaire


Un port est un séjour charmant pour une âme fatiguée des luttes de la vie. L’ampleur du ciel, l’architecture mobile des nuages, les colorations changeantes de la mer, le scintillement des phares, sont un prisme merveilleusement propre à amuser les yeux sans jamais les lasser. Les formes élancées des navires, au gréement compliqué, auxquels la houle imprime des oscillations harmonieuses, servent à entretenir dans l’âme le goût du rythme et de la beauté. Et puis, surtout, il y a une sorte de plaisir mystérieux et aristocratique pour celui qui n’a plus ni curiosité ni ambition, à contempler, couché dans le belvédère ou accoudé sur le môle, tous ces mouvements de ceux qui partent et de ceux qui reviennent, de ceux qui ont encore la force de vouloir, le désir de voyager ou de s’enrichir.

Baudelaire, Petits Poèmes en Prose

How to translate Mallarmé’s poem Apparition in English and realize…

There are maybe four great French poets of this time : Verlaine, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and… Mallarmé.

Mallarmé’s poetry is haughty, “learned”, puzzling, abstract. Thus, it’s a game for the poetry lover – and impossible to translate properly!

Here’s the end of Apparition :

Qui jadis, sur mes beaux sommeils d’enfant gâté
Passait, laissant toujours de ses mains mal fermées
Neiger de blancs bouquets d’étoiles parfumées.

I found this translation :

Who, in the blissful dreams of my happy childhood
Used to hover above me sprinkling from her gentle hands
Snow-white clusters of perfumed stars.

Okey, but no… It should be more like…

Who, long ago, along my spoiled child lovely sleeps
Was passing, always letting, from her improperly closed hands,
Snow some bouquets white of perfumed stars.

As always, translation poetry is a mess, and with this guy it’s worse, because… even in French we’re not sure!

  • Enfant gâté means spoiled child, but it’s ALSO a positive happy thing, it can be “overly happy childhood” (mmmh maybe it’s the same in English?).
  • And here, sprinkling sounds wrong to me. She doesn’t “sprinkle”, but, as her hands are “mal fermées” (“incompletely closed”, but on purpose, right?), she from her hands lets perfumed stars… snow.
  • The color white must be placed after the word in French : “un bouquet blanc”. If you put it before, you sound “poetic”, which made me write “a bouquet white”. How does it sound?

Ahhh, have fun, thanks for reading!

I added Mallarmé painted by Manet, his friend – who could perfectly paint him academically, but chose, I suppose, to show something else…


La lune s’attristait. Des séraphins en pleurs
Rêvant, l’archet aux doigts, dans le calme des fleurs
Vaporeuses, tiraient de mourantes violes
De blancs sanglots glissant sur l’azur des corolles.
— C’était le jour béni de ton premier baiser.
Ma songerie aimant à me martyriser
S’enivrait savamment du parfum de tristesse
Que même sans regret et sans déboire laisse
La cueillaison d’un Rêve au coeur qui l’a cueilli.
J’errais donc, l’oeil rivé sur le pavé vieilli
Quand avec du soleil aux cheveux, dans la rue
Et dans le soir, tu m’es en riant apparue
Et j’ai cru voir la fée au chapeau de clarté
Qui jadis sur mes beaux sommeils d’enfant gâté
Passait, laissant toujours de ses mains mal fermées
Neiger de blancs bouquets d’étoiles parfumées.


Chinese Poetry : “When the water-clock sounds…

When the water-clock sounds three times, I realize it’s midnight
Lovely wind and cold moonlight everywhere in pine and bamboo,

we sit here in perfect idleness, empty and still, saying nothing :
just two people in the shadows of a medicine tree, just two people.

Meng Chiao



“I spy… with my little eye… an anted ant & a dotless ladybug…”

I spy…

with my little eye…


an anted ant & a dotless ladybug,

a thoughtful dragonfly,

a cannon & an adorable farmer,

and a splendid rose, who’s alone…


Ant on leg is like a part of her other – henceforth, they’re one, forever.

Ladybug is one of her kind : her dots are in her mind.

Cannon has wheels, moves, loves and will protect headscarfed lady.

Dragonfly likes the soft clouds, today – she smiles and flies to the sky!

Rose doesn’t watch the grey wall neither the death around : she is happy and all pretty.




Thanks for reading!




Love Poem by John Glenday

You see
it’s neither pride, nor gravity but love
that pulls us back down to the world.

The soul makes a thousand crossings, the heart, just one.

– John Glenday, 2009

(found in the great Sally Mann’s book : A Thousand Crossings)

from Instagram:

Poets’ Names’ Sharers’ Roofs

A boutique is a special place, the most various people come in and come out. Whatever its dimensions, its installation, or the place it’s located, there’s a common feature : an opened door on the road.

M. Bealu


Theater & Poetry represent 3% of the book market turnover in France.

Many students have to buy poetry & theater for school, therefore I can imagine that poetry alone embodies (can I say that?) 1% of all bought books in France. It’s bigger than I thought, haha.

A big part of this, consequently, comes from French old masters studied in classrooms : Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appolinaire, Hugo.

So I can easily say that 0.1% of the books are bought here by poetry lovers…


Some conversations between two persons raise instantly a common roof.

A few days ago a lady asked me about a French poet totally unknown to me : Marcel Bealu.

To work in a bookstore is a bit frustrating : you can’t have all existing books (unless you own a 8.900 floors skyscraper) right? Thus we booksellers often order books, and explain to people that we would LOVE to have this rare poetry book, waiting for its customer for 17 years in a corner…

We know that people are aware we didn’t read all the books and can’t have all of them. But there’s this little pinch here, though.

Bealu’s style : French, imaginative, fantastic, grim, cerebral. “Dreamlike prose”, said the lady.

“Oh, a bit like Reverdy, then”, I replied.

And instantly, her answer, in a smile : “Yesssss!”.

Her gaze changed in a second, “Exactly!”. The roof was raised…


I love Reverdy’s poetry. It’s… unique, and here, Reverdy become a key, a spark.

This roof is a very special thing. It’s not about “at least someone who gets you”, not that early. It’s this process, a key word -> the roof.

“We’re the same family on this topic, right?”

It can be done with two 8 years old kids with Star Wars, that’s normal. But it’s something when you get this roof with a microscopic topic, Bealu’s poetry or parturition in the Middle Age, Kurdish architecture, Jünger’s essays or mantis macro photography.

“Heyyyy you know this!?”


L’araignée d’eau

“Et soudain, tandis que reprenait tout près, fragile et sonore à la fois, l’étrange suite de sons, je compris que cette araignée exprimait, par son chant presque humain, sa joie d’insecte.
Alors, dans la solitude nous entourant, il ne me parut pas ridicule de lui adresser la parole.
-Sais-tu qu’il manque peu de chose à ton chant pour que je m’en éprenne tout à fait ? lui dis-je mi-sérieux mi-badin. Avec une telle voix, ta place est dans le monde.
-Tire-moi d’abord d’ici, me répondit-elle, et tu verras comme je saurai te plaire.”

The water spider

“And suddenly, as the strange line of sounds started again, nearby, fragile and sonorous at the same time, I understood that this spider expressed, with this almost human chant, her insect’s joy.
Then, in the solitude surrounding us, it seemed to me that it was not ridiculous to adress her.
– Do you know that hardly anything lacks to your chant to be taken with? I said to her, half-serious half-playful. With such a voice, your place is in the world.
– Get me out of here first, she answered, and you’ll see how I’ll be able to appeal to you.”

Thanks for reading!


“Wisdoms”, a poem by P. Valéry


One wisdom runs away from love
Like the beast flees the fire;
She’s scared of being devoured.
She’s afraid of being consumed.

One wisdom looks for it,
And like the intelligent being,
Far from fleeing it, blows on the flame,
Makes it her strength and melt the iron,

Thereby, Love offers her his powers.

art 095.jpg


Une sagesse fuit l’Amour
Comme la bête fuit le feu;
Elle craint d’être dévorée.

Elle a peur d’être consumée.

Une Sagesse le recherche,
Et comme l’être intelligent,
Loin de la fuir, souffle la flamme,
La fait sa force et fond le fer,

Ainsi l’Amour lui prête ses puissances.

Paul Valéry

Jacques Prévert poem : “Into my House”

Into my house

Into my house you will come
Actually this isn’t my house
I don’t know whose it is
I came in one day just like that
There was no one here
Just some red peppers hanging on a white wall
I stayed in this house a long time
No one came in
But every day and every day
I waited for you

I wasn’t doing anything
At least nothing serious
Sometimes in the morning
I would let out animal cries
I bawled like a donkey
With all of my might
And it pleased me to do so
And then I played with my feet
Feet are very smart
They take you very far
When you want to go very far
And then when you don’t want to leave
They stay there they keep you company
And when there is music they dance
You can’t dance without them
Just be stupid like man is so often
As stupid as his feet happy as a clam
The clam isn’t happy
It’s only happy when it’s happy
And sad when it’s sad or neither happy nor sad
How do you know that it’s a clam
Honestly it’s not really called that
It’s man who called this mollusk that
Clam clam clam clam

Names are so weird
Martin Hugo Victor is his first name
Bonaparte Napoleon is his first name
Why like that and not like this
A troop of bonapartes pass through the desert
The Emperor is named Dromedary
He has the body of a horse and some travelling luggage
At a far gallop a man who only has three first names
He’s called Tim-Tam-Tom and doesn’t have a last name
A little further still there is no one that matters
Much further still there is nothing that matters
And then what can you do

Into my house you will come
I think about other things but I only think about this
And once you have taken off all your clothes
And you stand there nude motionless with your red mouth
Like the red peppers hanging on the white wall
And then you will lie down and I will lie down next to you
Into my house that is not my house you will come.



Dans ma maison


Dans ma maison vous viendrez

D’ailleurs ce n’est pas ma maison

Je ne sais pas à qui elle est

Je suis entré comme ça un jour

Il n’y avait personne

Seulement des piments rouges accrochés au mur blanc

Je suis resté longtemps dans cette maison

Personne n’est venu

Mais tous les jours et tous les jours

Je vous ai attendu


Je ne faisais rien

C’est-à-dire rien de sérieux

Quelque fois le matin

Je poussais des cris d’animaux

Je gueulais comme un âne

De toute mes forces

Et cela me faisait plaisir

Et puis je jouais avec mes pieds

C’est très intelligent les pieds

Ils vous emmènent très loin

Quand vous voulez aller très loin

Et puis quand vous ne voulez pas sortir

Ils restent là ils vous tiennent compagnie

Et quand il y a de la musique ils dansent

On ne peut pas danser sans eux

Il faut être bête comme l’homme l’est souvent

Pour dire des choses aussi bêtes

Que bête comme ses pied gai comme un pinson

Le pinson n’est pas gai

Il est seulement gai quand il est gai

Et triste quand il est triste ou ni gai ni triste

Est-ce qu’on sait ce que c’est un pinson

D’ailleurs il ne s’appelle pas réellement comme ça

C’est l’homme qui a appelé cet oiseau comme ça

Pinson pinson pinson pinson


Comme c’est curieux les noms

Martin Hugo Victor de son prénom

Bonaparte Napoléon de son prénom

Pourquoi comme ça et pas comme ça

Un troupeau de Bonapartes passe dans le désert

L’empereur s’appelle Dromadaire

Il a un cheval caisse et des tiroirs de course

Au loin galope un homme qui n’a que trois prénoms

Il s’appelle Tim-Tam-Tom et n’a pas de grand nom

Un peu plus loin encore il y a n’importe quoi

Et puis qu’est-ce que ça peut faire tout ça


Dans ma maison tu viendras

Je pense à autre chose mais je ne pense qu’à ça

Et quand tu seras entrée dans ma maison

Tu enlèveras tous tes vêtements

Et tu resteras immobile nue debout avec ta bouche rouge

Comme les piments rouges pendus sur le mur blanc

Et puis tu te coucheras et je me coucherais près de toi


Dans ma maison qui n’est pas ma maison tu viendras.

Paul-Jean Toulet, French poet

Paul-Jean Toulet (1867-1920) was a French poet. Don’t worry : he’s completely forgotten in France.

He wrote a delicious novel called “My Friend Nane”, and also Les Contrerimes, very short poems.

I offer you this one :

The evening coolness — as if filtered through
An emerald — brings your knees together, pressed,
And so you seem less nude. But, entre nous,
Your husband would say: “Just look at how you’re dressed!”

Cette fraîcheur du soir, qu’on dirai que tamise
Une émeraude, a fait se joindre tes genoux,
Et tu sembles moins nue ainsi. Mais entre nous,
Ton mari te dirait: “Comme vous voilà mise.


Toulet is free, and naughty, light, but always a bit melancholic…


Across the night’s hollow,
O sea, you whom I sense quiver
Like the breast of a lover
Turning on her pillow;

The heavy wind strikes the bluff…
What! If the mocking dart
Of a siren is in my heart –
O heart, divine rebuff.

What, no more tears,
Since no one heeds…
Quietly, like a heart that bleeds,
The rain appears.

Ô mer, toi que je sens frémir
À travers la nuit creuse,
Comme le sein d’ une amoureuse
Qui ne peut pas dormir ;

Le vent lourd frappe la falaise…
Quoi ! Si le chant moqueur
D’ une sirène est dans mon coeur-
Ô coeur, divin malaise.

Quoi, plus de larmes, ni d’ avoir
Personne qui vous plaigne…
Tout bas, comme d’ un flanc qui saigne,
Il s’ est mis à pleuvoir.

One more ?

Iris, with her brilliant pall
Lights with seven fires dancing
The gentle rain, advancing,

Ah, on the summer roses
Drape the shimmering train,
And veil, soft rain,
Their arid poses.

And you, whose joyous cries
Concealed such fears
May I at last see tears
Fill your eyes

Iris, à son brillant mouchoir,
De sept feux illumine
La molle averse qui chemine,
Harmonieuse à choir.

Ah, sur les roses de l’ été,
Sois la mouvante robe,
Molle averse, qui me dérobe
Leur aride beauté

Et vous, dont le rire joyeux
M’ a caché tant d’ alarmes,
Puissé-je voir enfin des larmes
Monter jusqu’ à vos yeux.

Iris is the rainbow, of course…


A last one, the best for me :


We lightly touch as I awake

      in the wide, untidy bed;

what faithless dream is in her head

      that has her tremble, shake?

A sharp, thin ray of sunlight burns

      the ceiling like a shard.

Outside, down in the yard

      I hear the scrape of churns.

Dans le lit vaste et dévasté

      J’ ouvre les yeux près d’ elle ;

Je l’ effleure : un songe infidèle

      L’ embrasse à mon côté.

Une lueur tranchante et mince

      Échancre mon plafond.

Très loin, sur le pavé profond,

      J’ entends un seau qui grince…


Thanks for reading!

You can buy me a coffee!









Paul Valéry, a poem about the thinker & the sea

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame —
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!

Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes,
Entre les pins palpite, entre les tombes;
Midi le juste y compose de feux
La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée
O récompense après une pensée
Qu’un long regard sur le calme des dieux!


Translation impossible, as usual. This verse : “La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée”. Why not “That sea forever starting and re-starting”. I also found “The sea, the ever renewing sea!”. The truth is it’s “The sea, the sea, always rebegun”

O reward after a thought, staring longly on gods quietness…