I’m hoping Sister Sarah will offer some tips on the nuances of the language in the previous post. But until then, I offer this as a sort of gloss on the phrase ‘regagné a lui-même’.

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles; and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

e. e. cummings
95 Poems

6 thoughts on “encore”

  1. I love it.

    No tips today.

    But I do have another poem to offer, one by Sir Thomas Browne. And although it’s about emptying oneself of self, it seems to me that it is a finding of self as well.

    * * *

    If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
    Like to a shell dishabited,
    Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
    And say, `This is not dead`,
    And fill thee with Himself instead.

    But thou art all replete with very thou
    And hast such shrewd activity,
    That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
    Unto itself – `twere better let it be,
    It is so small and full, there is no room for me.`

  2. Still hoping for the orginal translations, but I’m finding theses glosses most enlightening. Thank you!

  3. Elizabeth, my French just isn’t up to it. You know that feeling in prayer where understanding is a hovering presence at the edge of consciousness, that if you reach for, disappears? Well, my sense of the French prayer is much the same.

    I know there are better French speakers reading this blog. Come on, someone…

  4. Yes!! I had that feeling yesterday with Lacan! I call it the ‘shimmer’ – something just glimmering in the corner of your eye but you can’t look at it or think about it too much or it’s gone.

  5. Kimberly, I hate to disappoint you, but I am a lousy translator, even when I know what something means! If I have time to spend with a good dictionary (and we have one), I will see what I can do, but I promise nothing. I’m sure there are other readers who have that gift, though.

  6. Sarah, I’m not sure we need a full translation so much as nuances of vocabulary. A bit of ‘root word and associations’ maybe?

    I think the distinction between the French and the English in this case has more to do with the directions the words point, rather than the ‘one-word’ you would have to choose to translate it.

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