SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY: Memory lane…

When recently WordPress reminded me that this, my second blog, had reached its ninth anniversary, I decided not to re-post the original post but to share once again a place that is special to me.


Upon arriving in Paris, many are drawn to such destinations as The Eiffel Tower, Cathedral Notre Dame, La Louvre or one of many other Parisian landmarks. However, when I first arrived in Paris my first stop was to a landmark English Book Store in the Latin Quarter.

Located across the Seine from Cathedral Notre Dame, this haven for readers and writers is a living legend. The focus of this bookstore is English-language literature. It has served as not only inspiration but also home to writers for decades. In its current incarnation, it honors the past and the work of the original owner, Sylvia Beach. Miss Beach was responsible for publishing authors who had previously been unsuccessful in their attempts to be in print such as James Joyce. The advent of WWII closed the doors of the original Shakespeare & Company begun by Miss Beach. Miss Beach managed to keep the bookstore open through 1941 and the fall of Paris. However, the war had taken its toll.

After the war, American, George Whitman was not eager to return immediately. Instead, he enrolled in French classes at the Sorbonne. He amassed a large collection of books and his apartment became a lending library. After discussions with a friend, he found an apartment in the location where the bookstore still stands and turned that into a bookstore library. He used the name Shakespeare and Company in honor of Miss Beach and all that she had achieved.

There is a sign that you will see when you enter the shop that sums up George’s philosophy in life. “Be not inhospitable to strangers least they be angels in disguise.” George Whitman took in many hungry writers and shared his home and his life. There were beds among the books and often pancakes with George himself. His story is truly amazing and bears future reading.  The list of authors who have received inspiration and support at Shakespeare and Company is like reading a list of who’s who in the literary world for the past century. George and his daughter continue to support writers. Visiting authors, late night poetry readings are just some of the delights that are waiting for you.

In his novel, Time Was Soft There, Canadian journalist Jeremy Mercer chronicles his time living and working in the bookstore. It is food for any reader or writer’s soul. Unless the copy you find, of Jeremy’s book, is as old as mine, the re-printed edition is under a different title, Books, Baugettes, and Bedbugs. When you are planning that trip to Paris, put it on your list of musts.

This writer was thrilled when the shop took a few of my first poetry chapbooks on consignment and still have the receipt as a treasured souvenir of my first trip to France. I look forward to returning to Paris and to Shakespeare & Company. Fortunately, this time I won’t have to worry about buying more books than will fit in my suitcase…

Sadly, shortly after the original posting of this article, George Whitman traded the flesh and literally became one of those angels. His daughter continues her father’s work and I encourage everyone to check out the website put together by George’s daughter, Sophie, and the group who has banded to support the ideals that George and Sylvia Beach shared. https://friendsofshakespeareandcompany.com/

Company.

Bisous,

Léa

Edge of the Wilderness

Randall, this just maybe my all-time favorite post from you. It speaks to me on so many levels. Thank you.

Global Sojourns Photography

“Standing on the precipice of a wilderness unknown. Alone. Resistance, both past and present, pushes from all sides.” I stare at the words written and wonder what it would feel like to walk along a razor’s edge, day-after-day, your existence always in the balance.

My room fills with the warm yellow hues of the evening sun inviting me for a walk, but I am paralyzed. Mystified by this invisible force of power used to manipulate people. Used without empathy. Used without acceptance of responsibility.

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From the American Indians pushed around in the 19th century, to the American People pushed around outside the White House just a few months ago in the 21st century ~ use of force, power without responsibility.

I’ve come to realize while this is a beautiful world, rich in love and life, it is a beauty balanced by hardship for those not in power.

There’s a sentence…

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Le deuxième café

“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” – Pierce Brown, Golden Son

Le deuxième café

There is a second café now, in

Villeseque

C’est petit

Not so grand as the first

Cosy – like that favorite old sweater

Clung to on autumn’s first chill

Across the road, a large wooden table

Around it are six stools – room for twelve (stacked nearby)

Another small table just outside the door

The pattern is repeated inside

Tapas, wine, beer as you like

No extra charge for welcoming service

From your first visit,

You have come home

Bisous,

Léa

La Fête du Muguet

Due to WordPress issues, this site (http://foundinfrance) is currently in hiatus and its fate undecided as of yet.Therefore, I have reblogged it onto the poetry blog. However, you are most welcome to visit this other site, http://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com
As you may notice this a reblog from the past but relevant. Both have been active since 2011 and many posts to choose from. Thank you.

found-in-france

La Fête du Muguet, La Fête du Travail, May Day in France is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights. It is also an occasion to present  Muguet, lily-of-the-valley, or dog rose flowers to loved ones. Often it is just a single sprig of Muguet with a few leaves. However, some will incorporate a rose or even add several sprigs of Muguet to a much larger arrangement or plant.

How is the day celebrated: People across France give bouquets (or a single sprig) to their loved ones. In some areas, families will get up early to go into the woods to pick the flowers. Labor organizations will sell the flowers on the streets on May 1. Special regulations enable individuals and some groups to sell the flowers on May 1 without complying with retail regulations or paying a tax.

Parades and demonstrations to campaign for the rights…

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The Ukrainian Muse and the Paradox of Life

If you are not yet familiar with Randal’s work, you are missing so much.

Global Sojourns Photography

Alone I walk.  The bite of the winter chill does not let up, colors of the world fade into different shades of bleakness.  The ache for youth pulsates strong although I’m acutely aware each passing second takes me further away from this dream.

A nondescript voice echoes in my head, “the closer to death you are, the closer to life you become…”

My turned-up collar does little to stifle the cold wind caressing my neck, motivation for the continued search of a spark to ignite another year of passion.

The winter’s silence is broken by a warm whisper, “so you’ve finally come to see me again…” I look to find a smile I’ve grown accustomed to when in a philosophical mood.  She’s always walking beside me, but it’s been too long since I last heard her voice.

“This morning, I noticed you were preoccupied with a quote at the coffee…

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Fancy Restaurant|رستوران مجلل

I couldn’t resist sharing this one…

A Voice from Iran

A rich man walked into a fancy restaurant and asked for the best table.

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When he sat down, he saw a black woman sitting at the bar.

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He didn’t like what he saw. He didn’t like to eat in a beautiful luxury restaurant and see a black woman enjoying the same place that he was. He decided to show her; where her place was and prove to her that she didn’t belong there.

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He called the waiter and said: “Everyone will be my guest for dessert, except that black woman.”

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The waiter brought the restaurants famous chocolate cake to every single person except the black woman.

The black woman walked to the rich man and with a kind smile, said: “Thank you.”

The rich man got angry and called the waiter and said: “Give everyone a glass of wine under my bill except the black woman.”

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The waiter did what…

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Solitude of a Night in Prague

If you are not familiar with the work of Randall Collis, please do yourself a favor and read through this post.

Global Sojourns Photography

I’ve never welcomed the darkness as much as tonight. The isolation clears my head; this solitude of nothingness, paraphrasing the philosophy of the Dao de Jing, …holds everything.

Such silence is rare here on the streets of one of Europe’s oldest cities, where in the daytime each passing second arrives quicker than the last. At this hour, however, time essentially stands still.

The shadow of night creeps through my body, its blackness cloaking my soul to reveal a calmness lacking the past few months.  The lights, blinding during the day, become relief at this hour.  An hour of perception.  An hour of contrast, of paradox.

All encasing a world I seldom visit; deep into the night where elegance and vulgarity sit side-by-side on a curb, fused together through their unique naïveté by the darkness that surrounds.

The grace and coarseness of their melody illuminates who I was, who…

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Out of this world…

The other day, during a bout of procrastination, I found myself thinking about astronauts, space travel, rockets and aliens. To my surprise I discovered a few novel-writing similarities. Here is my list:

via Why Writing a Novel is Like Space Exploration #MondayBlogs #AmWriting  — BlondeWriteMore

When the eagle lands: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

“History with all her volumes vast, hath but one page.”   – Lord Byron

 

“Is it only in the army in the Philippines that Americans sometimes commit deeds that cause all other Americans to regret?” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow

 

Da Nang March 2002
Da Nang March 2002

 

When the eagle lands: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

 

Despite luggage filled

With packages of raisins

Jars of peanut butter

And other edibles as

Directed by Huyen

I felt as the guest who

Shows up for the feast

Empty handed – on arrival

In Da Nang

Despite numerous trips to

Tijuana in my youth

This traveler was not

Prepared for the depth

Of poverty – starvation,

Suffering at every turn

It was easy to spot

Hidden behind toothless grins

The kind gentle hands

Welcoming this foreigner

Whose generous form was

Warmly and securely enveloped in

Skeletal arms – for those still able

Fragile, contorted bodies in

Wheel chairs or makeshift

Gurneys – smile with what is

Left to them – perhaps the light

Radiating from their eyes

Their parents exposed to

Agent orange – a gift

In their own best interest

Bestowed by America,

Monsanto and Dow Chemical

The same Monsanto producing

Between 70% – 100% of all

Genetically Modified seeds

Declare war on life itself

Flashbacks of mutilated bodies

Float into my periphery

As the chemical giants

Tally ill gotten gains – where

Will they strike next?

MARS, GENERAL MILLS,

KRAFT, NESTLE, PEPSICO,

KELLOGG’S, COCA COLA

UNILEVER – make up to

90% of food at your

Neighborhood grocery retailer

Under the auspices of your

Elected officials – whose pockets

Deeply lined from corporate coffers

Sociopath ideology; no empathy, no remorse, no guilt, no shame

The masses complain and complain

Yet fail to alter consumptive practices

One month, we walked the streets

Of Da Nang – handing out sacks of

Rice and other foodstuff

Twelve years later

Yet I still feel like screaming

Alone into my pillow

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say

*

Peace

Léa

Thigh-high

monsieur Aristead et Claude
Monsieur Aristead et Claude

 

Villeseque below
Villeseque below

“It’s not just a question of conquering a summit previously unknown, but of tracing, step by step, a new pathway to it.” – Gustav Mahler

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

Thigh-high

I was thigh-high in

Brambles

Claude, monsieur Aristead et moi

Climbing mount Saint Pierre

The sun beat down on us

Le ciel jamais plus bleu

Thorns scratched at me

Tearing my shirt

And flesh

Till blood trickled

Down my arms

Warm, sticky – yet

Feeling no pain

Still higher we climbed

Un trône de pierre

We have reached its

Crown – our reward

Villeseque et Durban

Tranquility beneath our feet

Intoxicated – together we

Revel in the sunshine

Reluctantly – mais ensemble

We begin our descent

*

Bisous,

Léa