French on Fridays: One Swallow

Fountain 1

Copying French by hand (and I do this with Spanish now too) is the perfect way to learn. This makes sense, and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. After all, it is a common home-education practice to have children engage in "copy work" as a way to teach them proper English.

Also, this morning as I traced the words of Neruda over and again with my finger, in big invisible letters I made right there on his pages, I was reminded of a Memory Theory that suggests the more senses we engage the more we retain (go here for that info, which is called into question by this particular source but I think has a level of accuracy).

In any case, it worked with Neruda this morning. I "wrote," read visually, and spoke the material aloud concurrently. Within minutes I remembered "Allí se estira y arde en la más alta hoguera/mi soledad que da veultas los brazos como un náufrago." (There my loneliness stretches itself and burns upon the tallest bonfire, twisting its arms like a drowning man.)

It might be slow going if you learn French with me by copying one little word at a time. But then you are just here for the fun. Here is my offering for this week. A whole phrase instead of a word!

Une hirondelle
ne fait pas
le printemps

One swallow. One
hirondelle, watercolor
brown. Does not make.
Ne fait pas.The Spring.
Le printemps.

Nor one seed, a field
of rippling golden wheat.
Or one drop of white-blue
rain the weep of April.
But one glance from you—

a flock, a field, a flood.


Want to participate in French on Fridays, but don't know French? Type any English word here and get a translation into French. Include your word in a poem or vignette. Or just write about anything French (music, history, art, food). We're flexible. If you feel comfortable doing so, link back here in your post. That way we have a meeting place.

Need a little companionship to get the ball rolling? Take your French word over to Tweetspeak Poetry's game page and we can play a leisurely (untimed) poetry game together for a few days. It could make good grist. Also, we'd love to choose a few poems to feature next week at Tweetspeak!

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Blogger Matt Priour said...

This is reminding me that I am falling very far behind on my goal of reading Zola in the native French

9:56 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Matt, are you a French speaker? Or did you learn it in school?

Zola. Well. I'd be happy with Margaret Wise Brown's Je Vais Me Sauver (the Runaway Bunny :)

10:13 AM  
Blogger Marcus Goodyear said...

Well, well. That poem is mighty fine. I especially like the play between "wheat" and "weep."

10:42 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Pour Glynn: Le Hoogie Boogie


3:10 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Thanks, Marcus. I'm glad you liked it.

Maureen, where do you find this stuff? You are better than a librarian. You are a woman I could ask about anything. :)

3:36 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Damoff said...

What a cool exercise! Love the idea and your poem. I may have to stir my lazy self, dust off my French, and play along.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Damoff said...

Also, if you haven't seen this video yet, you simply must. Your heart will melt. A child's imagination + native French + expressive big brown eyes = one of my favorite videos (and stories) ever.


4:31 PM  
Blogger Sandra Heska King said...

I know no French. But I know your words make my heart sing.

10:32 AM  

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