Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homage a M. Prevert

Comment trouver les mots
à la fois brefs et constants?
On a tant vu,
tant aquis et tant perdu
Comment nommer
la seule chose qui tient
en ce moment même?

J'adore être ici
ma table à ce café
Chateau Margaux
qui sent le chêne limousin et le cassis
une bonne cigarette anglaise
la laine douce et souple
et le parfum inégalable
de Paris en automne

J'aime Gaston
la sérénité au poil
pas de jugement
il est tout amitié et affection

Je suis rassuré
qu'on peut me reconnaître
sans m'arrêter
sans s'attendre à un tête-à-tête
c'est me respecter

Je suis reconnaissant
que les jeunes poètes enthousiamés
ont cessé d'appeler
pour sonder ma pensée
ou pour me connaître autrement

Qu'y a-t-il à ne pas aimer?
Qu'ai-je perdu?
Qu'est-ce que je n'ai jamais connu? su?

Je la joie de cet instant
le présent sublime
l'actualité transcendante

English Translation

Homage to M. Prevert

How can I find the words
both brief and enduring?
Having seen so much
gained and lost so much
How best to name
the only thing that matters
at this very moment?

I love it here
my table at this café
Chậteau Margaux
redolent with Limousin oak and currant
a good English cigarette
the comfort of soft wool
and the way only Paris
can smell in autumn

I love Gaston
all serenity and fur
he never makes judgment
only friendship and warmth

I am relieved
that some people recognise me
but rarely stop anymore
and do not expect conversation
this is respect

I am grateful
that eager student poets
have stopped calling
wanting to know my mind
or other ways of knowing me

What is not to love?
What I have lost?
What I have never known?

I love the joy of this moment
the sublime present
the transcendent now

~ J. D. Mackenzie

[Inspired by POW Week 11 prompt: write a poem in the style of Jacques Prevert with some French sprinkles, featured at http://rallentanda.blogspot.com]


  1. Les mots justes... sometimes won't come, and you just have to appreciate the moment.
    Great capture of the mood of the photo.

  2. I am hooked, JD. This is a beautiful piece that culminates in a powerful ending. That last stanza says it all. Well done! ~Brenda

  3. JD this is a fantastic poem and you absolutely captured the mood of the photo!

  4. Lovely poem with French imagery of wine cassis
    and peut-etre it would have been a gitane or disque bleue gauloise:)
    I don't know why but Gaston? gave me a giggle.
    Capturing and savouring that moment of perfection when all the essential elements come together...weather,scents,food drink etc
    does not happen often.I was thinking that we are fortunate in having the ability to write, to be able to encapsulate the scene and the feeling after the event. A photographer has to capture it instantly. We just have to remember. Mme Pommeroy aime beaucoup ton poeme
    and wants you to accompany her on her next trip a Paris.
    I thought you said you didn't know any French!
    Word Verification...hazzi

  5. Stan, Brenda, Pamela, thank you, it's gratifying when the intent and the impression sync up. Rall, Yes, Gitane! I was trying to remember Dunhill but couldn't, so there's the first stop when I re-write. And I was telling the truth, there are probably fewer than 50 French words I know and half of them involve wine - Merci, bilingual friends!

  6. Mais ton français est excellent! I didn't need the translation, and read your poem aloud with the greatest of pleasure. Thank you.

  7. Very nice rendering of the photo, and I like the english poem. No idea about the french--if I can manage to pronounce on word in ten it's a triumph.

  8. Knowing no French, I appreciated just the sound of the French version, was surprised to see in comments that you really do NOT know French. The English version 'caught' me, and the ending was perfect!

  9. bien fait JD.....nice photo.....could be my friend Leonard C also

  10. Look ,I wrote it here last year...all that time,it's been with me.
    Merci Merci Merci
    Je t'aime