Brief Encounter

A school, in France, 1964.
Six months after my arrival,
the directeur emerged from his office,
doing his rounds, I assumed.
He met me in the corridor.
‘Vous êtes de la maison, monsieur?’
I was the assistant d’anglais,
I explained, holding out my hand.
He clamped it lightly
with moist finger tips,
and told me the Lyonais
were cold people, adding,
‘C’était difficile pendant la guerre.’
Whereupon he adjusted his trilby,
minced out of the building
like Hercule Poirot,
and I never saw him again.


© Nemo 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Hercule Poirot was Belgian is there a reason you use him instead of another well-known prominent figure such as

George du Maurier

“I am not a bloody little frog! I am a bloody little Belgian!” Poirot used to complain.


so you were merely describing a scene, and you’d rather be limited by British readership, whereas George du Maurier would work much better you being British in France talking to a French person, him being French-British. a connection with trilbies too. an educative attempt too for any readership. I have seen David Suchet. Didn’t remember the name of the actor but googled it and that’s exactly what I imagined, but it is also strong in my memory the fact that Poirot disliked being called French so I tried to find another person that would also work quite well. what I… Read more »


ok but I am interested in why the director minced like Hercule Poirot. why would you mention the moist finger tips why would he say the phrase in French. there is a story here. I’d like to see it more in the poem. i find it inspiring.


what you say with your backwards-looking telescope is equally interesting:

i think you have a much bigger poem here. and a very inspiring one too. i hope you will see that and do something. this is a very nice poem thanks for posting

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