"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Friday, February 01, 2008

Poetry Friday


I found this and thought it was lovely. The round up is over at Karen Edmenstein's shockingly clever blog.

On Speaking French after Twenty Years by Catherine Jagoe

for Massan

Strange, these words in my mouth—
the disappeared returned.
I am no longer agile,
but I offer them hamfistedly to you,
new to America from Mali,
your print skirt
the cloth of my childhood in west Africa,
the tongue between us
the green summer
I spent in France feasting
on freedom and being
twenty-one.

Strange, what is still here
and what has been removed
to somewhere deeper.
Tomorrow and today are here
but yesterday is gone
as is the verb for missing.
Low is here, but high
has vanished.

Read the rest of the poem here.

3 comments:

Karen E. said...

It is lovely -- thanks!

Sara said...

Glad to know that it's not only me who has had her French knocked full of holes. What's really strange is that I also tried to learn German, and if I acquired a word in German, then the French equivalent seemed to vanish. So when I made it to Paris, all hot to pull out my long ago learned French, I really had to watch my mouth, because German kept popping out!

But the language of mothers really is universal...

Tricia said...

This is wonderful. Sometimes I can't find the words in the language I do speak, so I totally understand fumbling for words in a tongue you haven't spoken in years.