Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Night Before Christmas in Paris

I wrote the following post three years ago and originally posted it to my Leith (in French) blog while living in Paris.

I'm posting it again, because I'm lazy and because it's the holiday season and because I can.

Even with its many flaws, I hope you enjoy reading.  Happy holiday season to you all!

'Twas the vielle de Noël in Paris
And all through the city
The streets were all purring
like a blue ribbon kitty.
The Citroëns were parked in the street without care
In the hopes that, thanks to Christmas, there would be no ticketing fare.

Karl Langerfeld was nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of riches danced in his head.
And Le Pen in his kerchief,
And Sarkozy with his night cap,
All of Paris had settled down for a long winter's nap.

When out on the patio there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my window to shout “vas te faire foutre, bastard!”
I threw on my knee-highs and tied up my écharpe
and stepped out in the sludge
in time to see an old Frenchman barf.

The city lights on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of Frenchness to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature drunkard and eight large cans of bière.

Being young and sober I was more lively and quick,
And was able to outwit the man as his cheeks drew out spit.
More rapid than the métro his entreaties they came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called each cent by name;

“Give a sous, a centime, a pound, a penny!
Give a dollar, a euro, a peso and plenty!
Fill the top of my cup! Fill the top of my bowl!
And merci, merci, merci to you all!

When thinking of sapins de Noël and Givenchy couture,
Most think of Christmas in Paris as a time filled with allure.
But this man sat as a reminder in the cold
That there are some Parisian realities which are still left untold.

He was dressed all in down, from his head to his chest,
And his clothes were all tarnished, though he tried to look his best.
A bundle of belongings he had flown on his back;
He was a God-honest peddler, just opening his sack.

His eyes were a bit cloudy.
His hair was all greasy.
His cheeks were all rosy.
His nose was all fleecy.
His droll little mouth slurred all his words,
But all the same he seemed to have mastered speaking in curse.

The stump of a Gitane he held tight in his teeth
So much smoke coming from it, he could hardly breath.
His chapped, naked hands clutched tightly to his portable telly
Hanging out from his pants I could see the bottom of his beer belly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.
I almost laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me reason to worry, so quickly I fled.

We exchanged not a word, but his image stuck with me.
Sentiments toward French gouvernement filled my head: have some pity!
As I made my way back, he put a hand on his hungry tummy,
So I gave in good cheer a couple euros of money.

I sprang back down the road as he gave me a whistle
And I ran up the stairs to leave you with this epistle:
To all those rich or poor and down on their luck:
A joyeux Noël to you all, and may you partake in roast duck!

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Loved it the first time I read it on your blog about France-- you're so clever!!