LEADERS - not followers

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


  1. I am amazed that you wrote this so quickly...
    so why didn't you say hello...or is that
    another story?

  2. It all happened in a flash... and I guess we both still had things to hide...

  3. You never know who you're going to run into. I ran into my ex-wife at a single's event. Talk about uncomfortable. YIKES!

    Nice write, Stan!


  4. Thanks Mark; Or who might run into you...

  5. WOW Stan! Really good shit man, really engaging -- I was drawn in to the point I wanted to read more... well done, well done...
    Image & Verse

  6. Decades after moving away, an old neighbor somehow finds me online- haven't even thought of him in all that time- and he asks me if our paperboy was a child molester. Hmmm..

    These meeting are strange, surreal. You write it well.

  7. Thanks to:
    Rob; I've met and known some pretty weird characters, and if I don't see it, I imagine it...
    Ron; Strange the way time enhances/diminishes memories... of course he may have taken a different kind of delivery at some time...

  8. This reads like the beginning of an exciting novel! A bit mysterious, leaves me wanting more.

    PS Le pantalon is singular in French! So are knickers and a whole heap of weird things - policemen are "la Police"

  9. we are interesting
    jigsaw pieces
    well done

  10. Thanks to:
    ViV; Strictly speaking, of course, you are correct, but les pantalons is acceptable - although the academie might disagree.
    But thanks for reminding me... Franglais! ;)
    Lucychili; Couldn't resist the twist at the end.

  11. Stan - Lest my limerick tonight makes me appear insensitive, and before you judge me too harshly; let it be known that I have more in common with the gentleman in the photo (save the wardrobe) than I care to admit, and — I couldn’t help myself, I believe the devil made me write it.

  12. Stan, les pantalons is more than one pair of trousers! Perfectly correct.

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

    LOL! That is priceless! It makes me really like the seatmate on the bus.

  14. Brilliant Stan! Clever last verse too!!

  15. If only it was as simple as wearing a beret and a stripey top!

  16. Fascinating poem which answers some questions and raises others.

  17. Stan,
    Excellent poem for the prompt. I also love the ending.

  18. This is a sadly familiar story, recognising someone from our past but not letting on. Nice one.


  19. Thanks to:
    ViV; Had a feeling there was a justification for 'les'; - Thanks again.
    Julia; Lip service is better than not trying...
    Andy; One day 'Marcel' might have a light bulb moment.
    Derrick; It's a start...
    Poemblaze; If it leaves readers with something to think about, it's achieved its objective.
    Flaubert; Another light bulb waiting to light up...
    Dan; They all smell the same to me.
    Thelaughinghousewife; Some might prefer it that way.