02 >>> A new meaning…

“Petit déjeuner du matin”, By Jacques Prevert

“Il a mis le café

Dans la tasse

Il a mis le lait

Dans la tasse de café

Il a mis le sucre

Dans le café au lait

Avec la petite cuillere

Il a tourné

Il a bu le café au lait

Et il a reposé la tasse

Sans me parler

Il a allumé

Une cigarette

Il a fait des ronds

Avec la fumée

Il a mis les cendres

Dans le cendrier

Sans me parler

Sans me regarder

Il s’est levé

Il a mis

Son chapeau sur sa tête

Il a mis

Son manteau de pluie

Parce qu’il pleuvait

Et il est parti

Sous la pluie

Sans une parole

Sans me regarder

Et moi j’ai pris

Ma tête dans ma main

Et j’ai pleuré…”

Back in 1991 I had the opportunity to live in France. My uncle Oscar was about to start a master at the university of Paris, so my mother decided it would be a nice idea if I went there and tried to learn some french while “growing up” a little more… (which did not happen, btw…)

So there I was, flying to a different country with no idea of what I was supposed to find…

I remember I attended this french for foreigners’ institute and found out how great was to have colleagues from all over the world: Chinese, Russian, German, British, Portuguese, Philippines, American and a huge etcetera… I was supposed to take like 8 hours per day, the morning teacher’s name was Martin and at the afternoon I had Isabelle.

I preferred her teaching method by far. She used to integrate arts, culture and society, while making us work hard with grammar, vocabulary, verbs…

This poem by Prevert, was my first assignment: I had to learn it by heart. I think I had an idea of what it could mean… Coffee, sugar, some rain and someone crying… how cool was that?!?! It was all totally working for me…

This adventure changed my life. I lived there for about a year. Yes, I learnt a beautiful new language and made lots of friends. In the meantime I went to rock concerts and visited several museums.

Life goes on very fast. I recently found this poem on Facebook and I read it again… after more than 20 years!!!, it was crazy. All of a sudden, I realized I had never understood what it really meant. While I was reading, I started to cry, i could not help it… I saw myself in Paris, young, happy… I then recalled my room, I can even remember the sheet of paper, sort of a photocopied print with Isabelle’s writing… As I kept reading, I began to understand the poem, it describes a sad scene… It talks about someone being abandoned, left alone…

In psychology, they are called Core Wounds, (Abandonment, Betrayal, Humiliation, Rejection, Injustice) Things that happened to you as a small child and that mark your life in an important way. These wounds never leave you. “Au contraire”, they keep coming back whenever you live a situation that relates in a way to that old experience.

By reading that poem I could connect to an awkward feeling of abandonment, a strange feeling of not being seen… Invisible. Empty.

So now, this poem gets a whole new meaning, at least for me…

P.S. Yes! Here’s the english version of the poem:


He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He poured the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
Into the coffee with milk
With a small spoon
He stirred it
He drank the coffee
And he put down the cup
Without speaking to me

He lit a cigarette
He made circles
With the smoke
He put the ashes
Into the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me

He got up
He put a hat on his head
He put on his raincoat
As it was raining
And he left
Into the rain
Without a word
Without looking at me

And I put
My head into my hands
And I cried.