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Member's Work > 35 Minutes to Coimbra

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message 1: by Marti (last edited Jun 18, 2015 05:38AM) (new)

Marti Martinson | 49 comments As new blue paint seeps into old Texas wood;
as caulk and compound attempt
to smooth out imperfections of 50 years;
as new window frames are primed,
hurriedly, before the rains are due to arrive;
as ladders and cans and brushes and rags
are staged for the next day's labor
onto an already cluttered porch:
as all of these steadily revive
the house, its street, and its city,
for its occupant there will always be
the never attained terrace house at Mayenne
that is, of course, in shambles,
on the Quai de la Republique,
or the even more ancient and ruined cottage
a mere 35 minutes to Coimbra.

message 2: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 80 comments Mod
I like this, the way the juggler keeps all his balls in the air until the eleventh line... but isn't,

"onto an already unseemly appointed porch:"

somewhat eccentric?

Nice share.

message 3: by Marti (new)

Marti Martinson | 49 comments Eccentric? You should see some of the stuff we have to store there due to lack of space. :)


message 4: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 80 comments Mod
Can't help out with the space - got enough junk of our own - but to encapsulate the line, try,

on a porch already embarrassing

message 5: by Marti (new)

Marti Martinson | 49 comments Maybe just take out the word "appointed"? As in:

onto an already unseemly porch

I wanna show you that townhouse in Mayenne:


Sigh. Who knew France had hillbillies? I could see this furnished in IKEA.

message 6: by Philip (last edited Jun 18, 2015 05:23AM) (new)

Philip Lee | 80 comments Mod
I thought you were on about some place in Louisiana. I looked, looked again and saw the slate roof and thought man, no way is that Stateside! So I pulled out on Google maps & lo! saw Le Mans.

We drove down the N28 from Rouen to Nantes in 1968, so I can say I've been about twenty miles from there, more than half a lifetime away. In those days even the N roads were in pretty bad shape, horse-drawn carts were everywhere and the French were still running steams engines on their railways. So I guess backwardness (as in Hillbilly) would have abounded.

You can still buy places like that in the hills round here for a song.


Collocating "already unseemly" somehow still seems stacked, though I guess that's what the porch is. Why not "cluttered" for unseemly?

message 7: by Marti (new)

Marti Martinson | 49 comments Done. Cluttered it is. :)

My mom's father's side was from Nantes. In 1810 an Auguste Plessala deserted the merchant marine and settled in Grand Isle, Louisiana. A distant, 3rd cousin (here in USA) has contacted us and given us info, helpfully constructed with an actual and even more distant French relative, going back to 1635. Mostly JUST names and dates, but one neat note: the parents of Auguste's bride knew the pirate brothers Lafitte. Deserters and criminals of the high seas: gotta luv it.

Hillbilly: Mont Guillame in French?

message 8: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 80 comments Mod
Some odd coincidences coming out here. On another thread we've been discussing the Beverly Hillbillies AND I just finished reading Parkman's "Montcalm & Wolfe" (an old book about the French & Indian War).

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