Learning in Québec

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I'm someone who began learning French when I was 53. I took a BA in French at 60 but wasn't happy with my level of comprehension (though I read very well). So, having really become comfortable with Spanish only by living on the Mexican border, I'm spending more time in Québec and near the border of Quebec, in Vermont, to see if I can do that here with French. I want to encourage others to do the same.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Sunday prose poem

Les classiques du jazz revisités

If you suffer from having fallen out of love with life, people, do something like this : Go to a library made from an old church with Jesus carved in dark wood with windows arched and bejewelled by winter light from the cold day beyond

And listen to jazz (or so they billed it, and you must believe they had reasons) with no voices but of strings, with only as Dylan’s line has it, the strength of strings.

And have it be free, this concert in library on a Sunday when the good townspeople are at churches which haven’t yet become libraries and the good street people who use the library as a study and study itself as a shelter haven’t been let in yet because this music happens early, earlier than that

And sit where you cannot see three women playing viola, violin, piano

And sit where with some old smooth stones, wood, pieces of sand become glass become rubies and emeralds and sapphire you

Let the music be only itself again, just Brubeck, even, par exemple.

Look at the listeners’ faces. Look at anyone or all.
All is forgiven.
They do know how to love.
They love what takes them back to before words came
(about the same time they had to accept their separateness from the flow of life all around them, when they had to begin to learn to live without that music, their second childbirth, really,and for most of us when we were two, when we had to begin to accept that each of us is separate here, to accept the incredibly sad truth)

to signal the singularity of winter beyond sweet soft communal protection.

(There is no English translation worthy of the French word, commune, I learn from my favorite dictionary.)

There is no better way to learn to love again than with what happens now, where you are, inside a shell of music without words, a church without religion.

[15 février, Une Concert Desjardin à la Bibliothèque Saint-Jean-Baptiste, à 11 h]

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