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.
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.
Thanks for that. I can’t get over how short and wonderfully sweet the festive season is here.
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.
I’ll stand you un cafe in the fleshpots of Montluçon if ever you care to come. Glad you liked.
Thanks for the very kind words. It was living in France which started me writing, with the poetry as an afterthought. Changed days. I enjoy writing verse now; it’s my jam, as they say.
As a former French teacher I really appreciate your evocation of this time of the year in France.
Vous etes tres gentile, Gerald.. je ne parle pas francaise tres bien, malheureusement, mais je pense que je devien meilleur chaque jour. Peut etre?
The Jock Frog
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 🙂