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La Paix des Choses Sauvages , Wendell Berry, and Thoughts on The US Election Results

Picture taken on Election Day morning. Is the sky half full or half empty? Depends on how you see things.

TODAY'S WORD: la paix des choses sauvages

    : the peace of wild things


    by Kristi Espinasse

Have you missed me? Or have you been so absorbed in the election results that you didn't notice a post has not gone out this week, until now--and this by the skin of my teeth.

(If only The Skin of My Teeth could continue writing this post-election essay.)

I've been thinking a lot about why I do not want to talk publicly about the election results. And when I say "thinking a lot," I've been, as writers or sensitive types are known to do, sweating blood from my temples as I struggle to put words to abstract thoughts and so present them to you.

As far as I understand, the reason for my silence (apart from a bad cold that's kept me in bed all week) is this: I don't want to hurt anyone! And if you don't believe me, read my results from the recent Personality Test I just took (twice!).

But what if altruism isn't really at the seat of this silence? What if a giant wet chicken (the French term for coward or wimp) is sitting in that very place? See, while my mom might forgive my difference of opinion, you, dear reader, might very well want to roast me on a stake for not roasting the president elect in this essay! (And then there's another percentage of readers who would roast me for not respecting that same roasted chicken. Wait a minute... Who's on first? (Scroll up, one or two lines, to verify said chicken. Then hurry back here so we can get this post over with.)

(Might I distract you from the completion of this dreaded essay by another game of Sentence Ping Pong? I didn't think so. You are, I fear, expecting a word, a thought, a response (or perhaps a solution?) to the post election results.  Come to think of it, I have two. Two words: Wendell Berry for Prez!

On second count, that's four words. I'm only good at math when I apply myself and the same is true regarding my behavior from here on out. What about you? In what area do you want to apply yourself in regards to making this world a better place? Isn't that, after all, the real issue?

I leave you with a poem by Wendell Berry, environmental activist, novelist, poet and farmer. And I have asked Jean-Marc to read it to you in French. Look for the sound file, below, and see you next week, à bientôt!

La Paix des Choses Sauvages

par Wendell Berry Listen to it Download Paix de choses sauvages

Quand le désespoir pour le monde grandit en moi
et je me réveille dans la nuit, au moindre bruit
dans la crainte de ce que ma vie et celle de mes enfants peuvent être,
Je vais et allonge où le drake du bois
repose dans sa beauté sur l'eau, et les grand héron se nourrit.
Je viens dans la paix des choses sauvages
qui ne taxent leurs vies avec préméditation
de chagrin. Je viens dans la présence de l'eau encore.
Et je me sens, dessus de moi, les étoiles d'un jour aveugle
en attente de leur lumière. Pendant un temps
Je me repose dans la grâce du monde, et je suis libre.

English translation, click here

Note: After Jean-Marc recorded the poem, I noticed the translation is not entirely correct. Feel free to edit and share in the comments section! I found the French translation to Wendell Berry's poem at the following site, and I send thanks, to Permaculture Eden.


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Our kids when they were younger. May the ground always be carpeted thickly with flowers. Caring for this planet is a priority! If you haven't yet, watch Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary "Before the Flood."

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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