A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


in the nursing home
she talks about the brother
no one talks about

dans la maison de retraite
elle parle de le frère*
dont personne ne parle
First published in Temps Libre; French translation by Serge Tome

*I have posted this as it appears in the original translation. Both I and many visitors feel it should be "elle parle du frere."


Blogger polona said...

a 5-7-5-er, and a good one at that!

as far as my french goes, de+le should be contracted into du, so i'd render L2 as:
"elle parle du frere"

(but who am i to argue with a native speaker if i can't even find the accented e on my keyboard)

8:34 AM  
Blogger Iris said...

I like this haiku, Bill. I think it is very sad, great, authentic. I love the French version, too. I have been learning French recently. When I started I did not know it would be so difficult :) But this is very good exercise for any brain (I have no particular problems so far :)
Best regards. Iris

8:43 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

That's how I'd do it, too, Polona. But I don't presume to correct the translator, who is Belgian (Does that make a difference?)

If you do find that key, tell me where to look.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Frank... said...

Most families unfortunately have a member that one one mentions? Elegantly put Bill...

9:25 AM  
Blogger jem said...

Lovely. Perhaps one of the consolations of old age is being allowed to mention the unmentionable?

4:11 AM  
Blogger Monika said...

Yes, a very touching haiku, Bill. As for the french translation, Polona is absolutely right (and I'm sure Serge Tomé'will agree without hesitation !)

à la maison de retraite (or : maison de repos, or : clinique)
elle parle du frère
dont personne ne parle

12:19 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks for those thoughtful comments, Frank and Jem.

Thanks, Monika. I guess we are all agreed on "du."

7:27 PM  
Blogger John McDonald said...

love it Bill

2:28 AM  
Blogger Danièle Duteil said...

A splendid one !

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Write :

"elle parle du frère",

it's better. Thanks for this good haïku.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...


I would also have thought de + le = du but maybe they do it differently in Belgium....

5:31 AM  

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