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les écureuils sont morts

by Plume

past the wooded picnic place
and hidden under stones,
I kneel beside our unmarked grave
and intermix our bones.

je murmure mes sentiments
et tu me reconnais.
tu me donne tes beaux adieux;
et j'accept chacun, tu sais.

the mulch smells sweet and soft and sad
as I water weeds with tears.
I plant a kiss I hope will grow,
a boon throughout the years.

tous les arbres sont silencieux
quand je marche dans tes bras.
les écureuils sont mort, je dis
mais tu ne comprends pas.

I leave it then, like I left you,
and hope to stay away.
though memory's hands still clutch my own,
I know she'll die one day.

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608 Reviews

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Reviews: 608

Stickied -- Thu Mar 09, 2023 12:17 am
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Plume says...

A translation, for interested parties:

Spoiler! :

2nd stanza

I whisper my feelings
and you recognize me
you give me your beautiful good-byes
and I take each one, you know.

4th stanza

all the trees are silent
when I walk into your arms.
the squirrels are all dead, I say
but you don't understand.

apologies for any French grammar mistakes/word misuse as well; though I've been learning it a while, I'm not a native speaker and am still bound to make some mistakes!

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497 Reviews

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Fri Mar 10, 2023 7:15 am
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Que says...

French major here and I just got so excited when I saw the title and this poem did not disappoint. <33 I love how the rhythm stays the same throughout the French stanzas and you've done a nice job keeping the rhymes the same as well. (sometimes it is SO much easier to rhyme in French, tho) Just stopping by with a positive comment -- I really enjoyed this!

Plume says...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! (and you're so right about how rhyming is easier in French-- I found myself very pleased with just how many words have the same ending sound lol) Thank you for commenting!

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180 Reviews

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Reviews: 180

Thu Mar 09, 2023 11:49 pm
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FireEyes wrote a review...

Heya Plume! Here with a review!

I adored this poem. Absolutely adored it. I like bilingual poems like this one. It works so well. It was such a sad one to read too and it reminded me of dead childhoods. With that said, let's get on with the review.

I'll start with some minor critiques. I didn't really find anything that was egregious. Granted, I am not a native French speaker and no one in my immediate family is either. I could ask my brother who studied French for years, but I'm honestly too lazy to do such a thing.

But for English critique, I noticed no other words are capitalized. But you always capitalize "I" and it was somewhat confusing. It's of course, a stylistic choice, but the idea is somewhat muddied with the choice to not capitalize your lines.

That's all I have for critiques. It was so good, so I shall praise this glorious, glorious work!

I love the French parts, even if I couldn't completely read with my own limited French. I think even if you were to translate your words into English and properly change some parts to keep the rhyming, it wouldn't be as heartfelt.

I LOVE the first stanza.

past the wooded picnic place
and hidden under stones,
I kneel beside our unmarked grave
and intermix our bones.
The rhythm was on point! It set the tone for "the squirrels are dead." The setting of walking through a park to realize that it's actually a graveyard feels like a metaphor for starkly realizing your childhood is over. You can never go back. Time marches on without you. And the small details you have like the graves being unmarked elevates this to such a high level.

This also also honestly a nice French lesson to be able to recognize words and piece them together is really fun. Even if the subject matter is so somber, I was thrilled to kind of understand what you wrote and to check what it means under the spoiler.

The French also makes me feel like these are thoughts back to the glory days when you used to be able to do something and it's in a completely different world. A new language in the piece solidifies that because a lot of people who don't know a language describe the sounds as very foreign.

I like the alliterations you used
the mulch smells sweet and soft and sad
I'm just a sucker for alliterations. The rest of that stanza is also so bittersweet. The imagery of watering a kiss you hope will grow with your tears is so beautiful. I've never seen anything like it.

In the fourth stanza, the fact that "they" don't know what you mean even while in your, I assume, shared language, is just another layer of distance to hit home the melancholic feel. I LOVE THIS POEM!

Okay, but that's all I have for today. I hope you found some of it useful! Do. More. Of. These. Please. Again, I adored reading this and I'm probably going to show it to my siblings because they all speak French to an extent. HAVE A GREAT DAY WHENEVER YOU READ THIS<3 Anyway byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee<33333333

Plume says...

I'm so glad you enjoyed! I'm also very pleased you picked up on the stanzas in French representing the glory days, so to speak; I definitely had that in mind as I was writing. Thank you so much for your review!

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353 Reviews

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Thu Mar 09, 2023 7:20 pm
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LadySpark wrote a review...

Okay, I am obsssesssssseddddd with this. First of all, I'm in the process of learning french and this just scratched an itch I didn't know I needed scratched! I've been wanting to try to write poetry in french, but I'm not quite at the level I feel comfortable doing it yet (and I don't want to just write it in english and translate it), but I love how you used both english and french in this poem. It flows together absolutely seamlessly.

This has a very nostalgic, creepy quality that I really enjoy. Stanza one starts out absolutely great, the intermixing bones line is very satisfying.

In stanza three, I think you fall a little short on imagery with your line about watering the weeds with tears. This can be a pretty stereotypical image and I think there's definitely something a little more individualistic in that head of yours. I honestly think this stanza is the one that needs the most work, because your following two lines also lack the metaphor quality of all your other lines. How can you say this without relying on images we've heard before?

Overall, this poem hit every single point for me. I loved it! Keep up the great work, I love reading your poems. I'll be back for the next!


Plume says...

Thank you so much for your review! I'll keep your feedback in mind as I revise the poem; that stanza also never sat quite right for me either. Once again, thank you!

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171 Reviews

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Reviews: 171

Thu Mar 09, 2023 7:43 am
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Spearmint says...

omg a Plume poem !! =D i got so excited when i saw this xD
it's beautiful, and the rhyming in both languages is exquisite <3 like the mulch, this poem seems sweet and soft and sad, and i'll definitely be re-reading it and savoring the words (i might have to search up the pronunciations of the stanzas in french to appreciate it properly, lol). thank you for writing this work of art! <3

Plume says...

aaaa thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed. (now you've got me considering attaching an audio clip of the pronunciation too)

Spearmint says...


"In my contact with people I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls -- with the great outside world."
— Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery