THE POETRY OF THE STREET

COLLABORATION/OFFERING no. 310

August 20th, 2021

Louise has deepened her dive into reading these days….she messaged me last evening telling me about a novel she had found at Clio (her local bookstore which she patronizes like a champ). It’s The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez, which I read when it first came out (after reading an intriguing review in the New York Times). It’s a story about grief, and friendship: between humans and between a woman and a great dane. And, I would also say, it’s one of those wonderful books about the city and its life.

But it was yesterday that she sent me this quote, which I didn’t get to in time, and am presenting today:

LA CITATION:

Il faut que j’évoque aussi ces moments fugitifs de bouffées de poésie heureuse qui nous saisissent quasiment de rien, parce qu’on marche, et que le corps nous dit sa joie de fonctionner comme une bonne machine. La poésie s’intensifie quand la marche a lieu sous le soleil d’hiver ou une belle pluie de printemps. J’ai eu un instant de joie poétique à voir dans la rue, à un arrêt d’autobus, le visage éclairé par un merveilleux sourire d’une jeune fille en train de lire une lettre. J’ai souvent trouvé la poésie dans la rue, dans un marché, un restaurant, et surtout en contemplant dans le métro des visages féminins, jeunes, mûrs ou âgés, au mystère insondable.

Edgar MorinLeçons d’un siècle de vie, 2021

A quick search revealed to me that Morin, who is a centenarian, is a man of tremendous stature. And yet, from this book, published in Morin’s hundred and first year of life, Louise chose a passage that is not unlike what she shared in her most recent choice of Serge Bouchard’s writing, One Moment.

In this passage, time is presented in life’s fugitive, poetic moments, described above by Morin as those moments that appear almost out of nothing, when we’re strolling, and our body is exulting in its simple ability to work like a well-oiled machine. The poetry is heightened when one is walking under a sunny winter sky or a lovely spring rain. Morin continues: “I had such a moment of poetic bliss upon seeing in the street, at a bus stop, the face of a young girl illuminated by a marvellous smile as she read a letter.” (my translation)

He adds: “I have often found poetry in the street, at a market, a restaurant and especially when contemplating, while riding the metro, the faces of women, young, mature or old, and their unfathomable mystery. “

  • Louise commented: Cet homme a 100 ans mais garde une telle jeunesse d’esprit et de coeur! Une telle joie de vivre qui m’éblouit. Je suis à lire ce livre et je le lis avec pondération afin d’étirer mon plaisir! (LC)

Photography:

  1. Edgar Morin (Wikipedia)
  2. From the blog: https://ahippyinparis.wordpress.com/
  3. (Shuttercock)

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