On Vacation / En Vacances

From The Sunday Muse
On VacationEn Vacances
In a Parisian café, a cup of coffee
has the taste of chocolate;
at home, it tastes like responsibility.
A simple sandwich –
slice of cheese, ham, bread –
becomes a a croque-monsieur,
becomes a culture.
Even the rain is beautiful.
There’s nothing extraordinary about vacation
but my heart is free.
Dans une café parisienne, une tasse de café
a le goût de chocolat ;
a la maison, ça a le goût de responsabilité.
Un sandwich simple –
tranche de fromage, jambon, pain –
devient un croque-monsieur,
devient une culture.
Même la pluie est belle.
Il n’y a rien extraordinaire de vacances,
mais mon cœur est libre.

***

Written for dVerse, Shay’s Word Garden Word List, and The Sunday Muse

78 comments

  1. Wonderfully done – really liked the poem, and the references interwoven, but more than that was stunned, as a French speaker, how much more beautiful your poem is in French. Really surprised me. The limitations of English, despite its facile communication and lexical library of words did not hold its own. Your translation was impeccable, or impeccable, biensur…!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You caught me. I’ve never eaten a croque-monsieur; I threw it in the poem because I needed an iconic French sandwich. Also, I’ve not been to Paris as an adult (unless you count a layover at CDG) so I’ve never had Parisian coffee, or even sat in a Parisian cafe. This poem is full of lies.

      Like

          • I will make the effort to continue visiting your site, but we seem at odds. I am a gentile male who is no professional, and you are a believing (I presume) female who works in some reasonably high industry.
            Still, I can give it a shot. Thank you for your kind words on how poetic my comment was. It made my day and I was having a rough one. Leaving the apartment building, I headed down the main street, turned left and smashed some big guy across the face by accident. He boiled red in the face. If I wasn’t 6’1″ and reasonably sized myself I felt sure he would have attacked me. And I’ve already been assaulted once this month. Sacre bleu! How can this be possible? Am I shrinking?

            TTYL.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I have many gentile readers and commenters. And professional just means that some company has agreed to pay me some money in exchange for me performing some job-related tasks they find valuable. I’m not that special.

            I’m sorry your day was so difficult! That does sound scary and awful, especially this being your second assault of the month.
            I’m glad I was able to improve your day with some blog correspondence.

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  2. I’m SO pleased that you put the French version up, too! Those last 4 lines are just better, somehow, en Francais. I love this whole poem in both languages, and the way you used the list words. They fit right in. I’m not a fan of linking one poem to multiple prompts, but here you have done justice to all three with a lovely piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was an interesting exercise writing the poem in both English and French (especially as my French skills are rusty – hence why this is short!) but I’m glad I did it. The French is more beautiful than the English.

      Thank you for the word list prompt! We’ll agree to disagree on the one-poem-per-multiple-prompt question. I actually hadn’t intended for my blog to be a poetry blog and I don’t want to overload it with too much poetry by writing a separate poem for every intriguing prompt. But I definitely appreciate the inspiration and such praise.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is absolutely delightful! You took the challenge to the next level with this poem 😀 Especially like; “A simple sandwich –slice of cheese, ham, bread –becomes a a croque-monsieur, becomes a culture.” Thank you so much for writing! 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci! I’ve taken writing workshops with Murphy Writing and in a lot of their prompts, they’ll add a directive to “Tell a secret, tell a lie, and never tell anyone which is which”. I’ve found this advice to be very good for improving my poetry. But I’ll fess up to the lies in the comments on my blog 😉

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  4. Those last two lines: “There’s nothing extraordinary about vacation; but my heart is free”, are SO good! Captures something I’ve always felt and never been able to articulate properly, I love it. It really is all about just knowing you’re on holiday that can be what actually matters.

    … I now also miss Paris. It really does have a je ne sais quoi about it. Been trying to go for the last two years, but my plans have been foiled every time I’ve tried. Truly tragique. Do you have plans to go again anytime soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. Vacation is a mentality as much as a destination.

      I would LOVE to go to Paris, although I have no plans at present. Sadly, I’ve never even been to Paris as an adult, unless you count a layover at CDG, which I do not. This poem was more imagination and wistful thinking vs. a reflection on past experience. This is extremely tragique.

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      • Hopefully you’ll get the chance to go soon enough! Paris is one of my favorite cities and, if you stick to walking around to explore it and avoid the tourist traps, it has such a charm to it. Also, their museums, especially D’Orsay, are BEAUTIFUL.

        CDG is ironically one of my least favorite airports. Got taken off a plane after having boarded and put in my luggage once at CDG. I decided to be spontaneous and book a ticket home next-day, since I was in Paris for work and an event got canceled and the French thought this was HIGHLY suspicious. 2/10 do not recommend.

        Liked by 1 person

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