Salut/Rencontres

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths you Can’t Avoid

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”  – Oscar Wilde

“We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what the are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.

– John Locke

“Language forces us to perceive the world as man presents it to us.”

– Julia Penelope

 

 

Salut/Rencontres

Antoine comes to the café

Each morning

A magazine in hand

Periodicals about small boats

Or great ships

The sea courses

Through his veins

Antoine skims le journal (newspaper)

Drinks his café

Diving deeper into

His nautical world

Pausing to acknowledge

Friends

Today he shows me

A new book “Milk Cows”

U boats of WWII – hardback

En anglais

In turn, I produce my

Latest paperback of French poems

On parting we raise les livres

And laugh

Bisous,

Léa

Defeat

The darker things get, the more I find myself turning to the wise words that are never far away. In fact, I hope you find some below. There is much more on the bookshelf, library, and the internet. Poetry and quotes have long been a refuge for many.

 

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”                       – George E. Woodberry

 “What is defeat? Nothing but education. Nothing but the first step to something better.”  – Wendell Phillips

 

Defeat 

 

Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude, and my aloofness;

You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,

And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.

 

Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge, and my defiance,

Through you, I know that I am yet young and swift of foot

And not to be trapped by withering laurels.

And in you, I have found aloneness

And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

 

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword, and shield,

In your eyes, I have read

That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,

And to be understood is to be leveled down,

And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness

And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

 

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,

You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,

And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,

And urging of seas,

And of mountains that burn in the night,

And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

 

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,

You and I shall laugh together with the storm,

And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,

And we shall stand in the sun with a will,

And we shall be dangerous.                              – Kahlil Gibran

 

Bisous,

Léa

Quotations By Isaac Asimov

Most timely, Charles. We all need to read and heed these quotes. The budget needs to put Education as a top priority. Alas, under the current regime, that won’t happen. One’s head must be buried deeply in the sand to not see the price the nation is paying for ignorance. Thank you for shining some light out into the darkness.

charles french words reading and writing

Isaac.Asimov01

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

“The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.”

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The Repossession of America

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”  – Albert Einstein

“Humour is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.”  – Mary Hirsch

 

While I do realize that the following is a bit out-dated and perhaps Britain has issues of its own at the present… Yet I couldn’t resist pulling this letter out of the files, dusting it off and sharing it. My chapeau is off to John Cleese for the medicine (laughter) he dispenses when we need it most, like now! 

Today, 14 July is Fête Nationale du 14 juillet (France). Outside of France, this is frequently referred to as Bastile Day. It is not Bastile day but it does mark the turning point of the French Revolution in 1789. The champagne and the wine will flow, music, and so much more. I’ve no doubt that each and every village will create a way to celebrate safely in this time of Covid-19. 

 

Britain is Repossessing the U.S.A.

A message from John Cleese  (British comedian)

To:  The  citizens of the United States of America:

 

In view of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign  Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown (now Boris Johnson), will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced  with immediate effect:

You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English  Dictionary.

  1. Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide.  You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
  2. The letter ‘U’  will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’  Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix  -ise.

Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels  (look up ‘vocabulary’).

  1. Using the same 27 words interspersed with filler noises such as  ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

There is no such thing as US English.  We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.  The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of -ize.  You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save the Queen.

  1. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  2. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists.  The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent.

Guns should only be handled by adults.  If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

  1. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler.  A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  2. All American cars are hereby banned.  They are crap and this is for your own good.  When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

Holden Monaros are also approved.

  1. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect.  At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humor.
  2. The Former USA  will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) – roughly $6/US gallon.  Get used to it.
  3. You will learn to make real chips.  Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips are thick-cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  4. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.  They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
  5. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
  6. You will cease playing American football.  There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer.  Those of you brave enough will, in time,  be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).  Don’t try Rugby –  the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you like they regularly thrash us.
  7. Further, you will stop playing baseball.  It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of  America.  Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.  You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  8. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
  9. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s  Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due  (backdated to  1776).
  10. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high-quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.

God save the Queen.

John  Cleese

Thank you John Cleese for offering the only remedy currently available for what ails millions of people (Laughter is still the best medicine.)

Bisous,

Léa

Affair with Hemingway

“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye – that was the trouble – I wanted to kiss you good night – and there’s a lot of difference.”  –  Ernest Hemingway

“They love me like a pack of wolves.”   – Ernest Hemingway

“Love is forever. Lust is for the moment. Got a moment?” –  Michael Gorman

 

Affair with Hemingway

 

Remote corners du café

Closerie des Lilas

Summer evenings beneath stars

Sidewalk tables and stories

Late at night – mon chambre

I take you to my bed

Crawl deep inside your stories

I have my way with you

You reach out through time

Together, we do Paris

Huddled in corners

Sipping wine and champagne

Dark Smokey tables shared

Avec Fitzgerald, Ezra et

Ford Madox Ford

War stories, the bulls

Nights at Bricktops

Josephine’s rocking the joint

Gertrude’s salon

Champagne et art du jour

Picasso, Modigliani

Breathless with anticipation

I surrender and plead for more

It is the life – it is life

Bereft, insatiable, pleading for more

C’est magnifique!

 

Bisous,

Léa

Red’s own story

“And whenever I’m in a situation where I’m wearing the same as 600 other people and doing the same thing as 600 other people, looking back, I always found ways to make myself different, whether it be having a red lining inside of my jacket, having red shoes, it hasn’t changed.”
– Jeremy Irons

“When in doubt wear RED.”
– Bill Blass

 

Red’s Own Story

 

She is the thick

Slick enamel

That covers my nails

A pointer when tracing

Concentric circles

On bare flesh

She is the sports car

Darting along the highway

Hugging the curves

Turning an eye

She is the ripe

Succulent strawberry

Her flesh firm

Yet yielding

Tantalizing dipped in dark chocolate

Suits her best

She is the

American beauty

Long stemmed, heady fragrance

Her tight buds unfurl

Exposing her inner delicacy

We forget the thorns

She is the creamy dark war paint

On my lips

A signature

When and where

I choose to leave my mark

She is fire

On the move

Churning inside

Rising up

Beckoning me on

She is

Passion

 

Bisous,

Léa

Night on the town

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”    – Sheila McKechnie

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”    – Mother Teresa

 

Night on the town

 

Hunched slightly forward

He shuffles

From the steps

Of the coffee house

An old yarn cap

Pulled down

Hiding shaggy grey hair

Hands tremble

Clinging to a small paper cup

Hand out coffee

Black skin

Mingles with the night

His slight form

Hovers over

The un-cleared table

On the sidewalk

A ragged coat

Nearly swallows him

Turning cautiously

Side to side

He claims a half-eaten baguette

As his own

Huddled tightly

In a white plastic chair

He savors this feast

Morsel by morsel

Plucked from a hiding place

Beneath his arm

Tonight will be good

Without the pangs

Of hunger

He can brave the cold

 

Bisous,

Léa

Courage for today and beyond…

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue.”  – Maya Angelou

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose site of the shore.”  – William Faulkner

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even that death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid… Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”                    – Bertrand Russell

 

Still I Rise

 

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past, that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear it in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

Maya Angelou – Still I Rise

 

With all that is going on in the world, we each must fight battles as our conscience dictates. Thought and rigorous prioritization will help us to know where to direct our thoughts and most of all, our actions. We can tell someone we love them, but our actions usually get their first and are usually much more credible. Ask yourself where your courage is most needed and dispatch it immediately.

Bisous,

Léa

To Live “according to nature”… Nietzsche

 

“Sensuality often hastens the ‘Growth of Love’ so much that the roots are weak and easily torn up.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

“He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”  – Michel de Montaigne

“Let us give nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.”                      – Michel de Montaigne

Do you want to live “according to nature”? O you noble Stoics, what a verbal swindle! Imagine a being like nature – extravagant without limit, indifferent without limit, without purpose and consideration, without pity and justice, simultaneously fruitful, desolate, and unknown – imagine this indifference itself as a power – how could you live in accordance with this indifference? Living – isn’t that precisely a well to be something different from what this nature is? Isn’t living appraising, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And if your imperative “live according to nature” basically means what amounts to “live according to life” – why can you not just do that? Why make a principle out of what you yourselves are and must be? The truth of the matter is quite different: while you pretend to be in raptures as you read the canon of your law out of nature, you want something which is the reverse of this, you weird actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to prescribe to and incorporate into nature, this very nature, you morality, your ideal. You demand that nature be “in accordance with the stoa,” and you’d like to make all existence merely living in accordance with your own image of it – as a huge and eternal glorification and universalizing of stoicism! With all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves for such a long time and with such persistence and hypnotic rigidity to look at nature falsely, that is, stoically, until you’re no longer capable of seeing nature as anything else – and some abysmal arrogance finally inspires you with the lunatic hope that, because you know how to tyrannize over yourselves – Stoicism is self-tyranny – nature also allows herself to be tyrannized. Is the Stoic then not a part of nature?… But this is an ancient eternal story: what happened then with the Stoics is still happening today, as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates a world in its own image. It cannot do anything different. Philosophy is the tyrannical drive itself, the spiritual will to power, to a “creation of the world” to the causa prima |first cause|

Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

 

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.” – Socrates.

 “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle                                             

“To find yourself think for yourself.” – Socrates

 

Time is precious and each of us is allotted a relatively small portion. Self-examination is crucial and a necessary investment in ourselves, routine maintenance so to speak. If we can’t be firm in our convictions, do we have any? Or do we simply parrot those of another? If we don’t change our minds, from time-to-time, examine our beliefs, are we sure we are capable of doing so. The world does not stand still and we need to be mindful that even the road less traveled bends, rises, and falls.

Bisous, Léa

WORDS TO LIVE BY…

 

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however, measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

Desiderata

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann Original text Copywrite 1927

 

This beautiful work deserves our consideration and reflection. Open your heart as you delve into these words and be inspired. We are in need of his wisdom even more during this perilous time. 

Bisous et bonne santé

Léa