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Monday, April 19, 2010


NaPoWriMo Day 19
For today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, Read Write Poem member Rallentanda introduces a word that’s new to many of us: éclat. Online dictionaries (like this one) list several definitions, but it is the etymology that inspires the meaning chosen for today’s prompt. The word éclat is French, and we’re paying attention to its root éclater, “to burst (out), shine.”
For Rallentanda, and us, this means a flash or light bulb moment. Everyone has had one. Things suddenly fall into place (a realization of the truth of the matter).
Often the situation is too painful to address, so you hide it. For example, you suspect your husband is having an affair with your best friend or you suddenly realize where the missing cash went from your wallet all those years ago.
It can even be humorous. You usually wear your best under garments for a visit to the gynecologist, but as you’re ready to strip off you suddenly realize you are wearing your old gardening knickers with all the broken elastic. Try to describe the ensuing feelings of embarrassment and desperate attempts to rectify this situation.
I actually know of someone who tripped and fell on stage at a gala performance. She was so humiliated that she pretended she was having a heart attack (which seemed, to her at the time, the better option).
Your poem should express the emotions that grip you as you experience your ’shock’ moment.


Staying with the French theme:


On the bus to work this morning
Top deck, front seat; one place vacant
I sat down beside the loner
Wearing striped top and a beret

Not really paying attention
But a sudden flash filled my thoughts
Certain I knew him from somewhere
Illuminated, I observed

Recognised him by his hair-lip
But he wouldn’t remember me
I was only twelve or thirteen
When he moved from our neighbourhood

I’d heard some stories about him
But I wasn’t expecting this
A Marcel Marceau look-alike
On the bus, sitting next to me!

Workmates told me his second wife
Had asked him to show more passion
Like men in sexy French movies
Monday nights on BBC2

Smoking those Gauloises cigarettes
Or was it Gitanes…? Disque Bleu…?
Had this week’s Paris Match rolled up
In a belt-loop of his Levi’s

Started reading Fin De Partie
Which translates to (Beckett’s) Endgame
Looking deep in concentration
But I know he doesn’t speak French

At least that’s what my friends told me
When we spoke this afternoon
He’d been to France two or three times
Just to humour his Better Half

He only bought the Paris Match
Because Yvette takes her kit off
By the sea on the Cote D’Azur
(Pictures on pages eight and nine)

An amusing thought crossed my mind
As I stood up to disembark
Back in the day, he, a tough guy
Now his wife wears Les Pantalons

I wonder what he’d make of me
If he knew how things had turned out
Back in the day, me, a Tomboy
Now just another Bloke at work