ONE 2 • Poetspace 2: Folliet, Calder and French Decadents

Entre Guillemets

“Euphemistically Speaking” or Are You Kidding Me?

Every jest is an earnest in the womb of time”

– George Bernard Shaw

  1. Affordable housing
  2. Personal proceeds
  3. Both sides won
  4. Everything happens for a reason
  5. Build it and they will come
  6. We’re winning the war
  7. Access
  8. No child left behind
  9. Tell it like it is
  10. Equal opportunity
  11. Inspiring giftables that warm the heart and home
  12. Courteous and knowledgeable sales counsellors
  13. Works by and/or attributed to
  14. Mission accomplished
  15. No worries

– Mary Folliet

Chanson d’automne


Les sanglots longs
Des violins
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une languer
Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure
Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deça, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.
Song of Autumn
The long sobs
Of violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a languor
All suffocating
And wan, when
The hour strikes
I recall
The old days
And I weep
And I leave
With the ill wind
Which blows me
Here and there
Just like the
Dead leaf.
– Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)
trans. Mary Folliet, July 2007
I seldom eat,
but when I do,
it is a treat.
There are many foods
that we like
that on occasion
are just right.
Little nibbles, radishes,
salmon roe, a celery stick,
ginger biscuits, raspberries,
at certain times
they’re just the trick.
For some there is a richer fare:
in great variety there are
foie gras, oysters, truffles even,
pheasant paté, cavier.
I’ve tired this time, and very hard,
not to mention, not to think
of those who can’t afford a crust.
I often cannot sleep a wink,
suppressing conscience is a must.
I’m not too good a stopping thought
and banning misery from my mind;
the guilt grows in direct proportion
to how well I’ve lunched or dined.
But, no! This time I’ll not give way
in spite of Rwanda, Kosovo.
I’ll imitate those others who
to be quite frank, don’t want to know.
So here I am with tapenade,
olive pate and quite delightful,
to be followed of course by something better
and refusal to think of what is frightful.
– John Calder, Terminus Nord 11/4/99

Jet Lag
The spirits sag.
If I had a tail
it wouldn’t wag.
No energy
to unpack my bag,
can’t sleep ‘though tired:
it’s jet lag.
I must concentrate
to read my letters.
It is my fate
to be in fetters
to bills, demands
and things to write;
no magic wands
to put things right.
Differently I’ll see
things tomorrow.
I’ll be more me
in lesser sorrow.
I’ll know I’ve won
when jet lag’s gone.
– John Calder
Tristesse de la lune
Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu’ une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d’ une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s’endormir le contour de ses seins.
Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l’azur comme des floraisons.
Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa languer oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poete pieux, ennemi du sommeil,
Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pale,
Aux reflets, irisés comme un fragment d’opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.
Sorrows of the Moon
Tonight the moon more lazily dreams;
Like a beauty on many cushions,
Who with a discreet and light hand caresses
Before falling asleep the contour of her breasts.
On the satin back of soft avalanches,
Dying, she surrenders to long swoons,
And wanders her eye toward white visions
Which climb in the blue like blossoms.
When sometimes on this globe, in her idle languor,
She lets flow a furtive tear,
A pious poet, enemy of sleep,
In the palm of his hand takes this pale tear,
Of rainbow reflections like an opal fragment,
And places it in his heart far from the sun’s gaze.
– Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
trans. Mary Folliet, 2007
Winter in the City
This frigid Sunday New York morn
smoke stacks emit speeding clouds
wafting up & away into the pale sky
while writing which dissipates
dissolving vaporous breath
winter thoughts thrust up
from high rise dwellers dreams
sequestered in overheated homes
alienated from both inner and outer weather
of debut-de-siecle discontent.
What pleasures and comforts remain
require valiant effort to vanquish
seasonal inertia & ennui
while liberation beckons and travel-
exotic escape fantasies
far from routine of duty and self
adventure in a warm world of abandon
seascapes of languorous beaches
bold sun, bright strides toward
one pristine horizon of joy…
In harmony with the sighing smoke stacks
across the cold city beyond my window
I, too, sigh, longing to dissipate:
by memory & revery compelled
into contemplation of then and when
love & loss across the dying decades
redeemed by fleet movements of bliss
in consciousness frozen now
ice floes awaiting fire music
along the dream river of trascend-dance.


– Mary Folliet (revised Paris, Nov 2007)

School as Mental Institutions
The world of schools can be seen as mental institutions with teachers cast (unwillingly perhaps) as therapists. This world is not much different in essence in the United States from schooling in Europe. Certainly the crisis experienced by the teacher caught between a school system determined to process the child as a unit and the parents determined to develop the child (from without) into a product is nearly identical. For in this situation, this same teacher must deal as a human being with the student, another human being, in a way which satisfies the teacher, the parents and the school systems
– Jim Haynes
A Thorny Issue
We can complain
the rose bushes
have thorns,
or rejoice because
the thorn bushes
have roses.


– Graffiti found in a women’s toilet.
I repeat myself: Everything is! Everything is itself. It is in itself neight good nor bad. It is your perception of it which gives it value. A rose bush is a rose bush is a rose bush. If you think/feel it is good for you, it follows that you might think it is also good for everyone else, that everyone will think/feel the same as you.
But it isn’t necessarily so…
– Jim Haynes, Everything Is, Paris.