Les Courses de la Fete – for the Poetry Challenge

Winter in South Central France

The skittling, seasonal wind
cuts the corner by the church.
It leaves a Christmas message
branded on rouge cheeks.

At the Tabac, an old Huguenot
spits out the ancient chestnut
that only a Catholic redeemer
could find virtue in Winter birth.
The delicate demi-tasse,
clenched in labouring fist,
dispenses miasma Arabica;
sour satyr now smiling saint.

A span of religious tolerance,
twixt tabernacle and temple.
The Café du Commerce,
across the great divide.
Coffee-misted haloes pierce the veil,
glimpses of the faithful;
where Gourmands recite
Complex pleasures in simple feast.

Anglo-Saxon vulgarity is not displayed.
No bran tubs, Secret Santa
or M and S underwear.
French Fancies are hidden under wraps.
Everything stops for coffee,
Yes; and lunch,
the occasional show
of workers’ solidarity.

The happy Café mist gives no ground
to the frenzied hunt for Christmas.
Perfection is a daily given.
the simple rhythm of life.

© franciman 2023
Views: 1857
critique and comments welcome.
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A winter scene describing the oncoming festivities in the South of France and the religious fervour they arise among its citizens, Catholics and Protestants alike. Yet a kind of tolerant truce develops
between the divide on this occasion, which although special is celebrated in a simple way with no ostentation. A well crafted and enjoyable poem, Jim.


Love the opening stanza Jim, it’s a poem in itself. I also love the sentiment behind this and how you capture the essence of the cafe, oh how I wish I was sat sipping coffee there now.


As a former French teacher I really appreciate your evocation of this time of the year in France.
Salut, Gerald.

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Awesome write! Your first stanza brings me right into the raw, street level feel of a winter’s day and your fourth is charmingly droll in its description of Anglo-Saxon vulgarity. 🙂 A clever, fully fleshed portrait of a French winter’s scene painted in a brilliant color and contrast of words. A pleasing read and a fav for me. bel 🙂

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