Many occasions I have found myself in French Speaking Europe, although quite
accidentally since I was en route somewhere completely different. I had a French
flat mate at my last position in Istanbul and she was unquestionably pleasant
and an agreeable person in terms of our relationship as flat mates, and of course
her male friend and partner was there with the two of us as well.
Long Long time ago, when I was working full time at The Lab., I had a French
colleague around the corner from my flat and she and I used to discuss
continuously the poetry of Baudelaire ... she did the French speaking
part and I participated with the English speaking part.
The Serpent has been a significant symbol in my life particularly in
childhood, and about ten years ago I was in Morocco and the Serpent
was there, in the flesh, at my dinner table. You have heard of dining
with snakes well! that was the first time I had a snake on the table ..
it was alarming, to say the least.
Baudelaire has a poem:
Le Serpent Qui Danse
I like the line ... /Belle d'abandon/
it summarizes beautifully the feelings I had around the same time in
Morocco .. I had been abandoned, and was forced to return to
work without any attention being paid to my current responsibilities
as a wife and poet myself. This poem focuses on this terrible
feeling ... of being alone in the world, and being abandoned.
Another line from Baudelaire ... /Au Lecteur/ specifically addresses
the notion of what to do in life. Well, take up the cross and follow
Our Lord as a Lecturer in French Literature and in English ...
stranger things have occurred since those years long ago.
I came close to both notions pressured by my friends at that
dinner table all those years ago. I didnt really want to hear their
advice but I must add, I did have to take that advice to heart
and do precisely that. I later came to teach German students
Literature in French ... good stuff, excellent reading ...
keep on reading French poets ...