Ça n’existe pas.

Ça n’existe pas.

sah negg-ZEES-tuh pah.  Click below to hear the whole poem!

That doesn’t exist.

For those who enjoy poems, here’s another one, by Robert Desnos, from his collection Chantefables et Chantefleurs (1952).

La Fourmi

Une fourmi de dix-huit mètres
Avec un chapeau sur la tête,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Une fourmi traînant un char
Plein de pingouins et de canards,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Une fourmi parlant français,
Parlant latin et javanais,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Eh ! Pourquoi pas ?

The Ant

An eighteen-meter ant
With a hat on its head,
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
An ant pulling a cart
Full of penguins and ducks,
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
An ant that speaks French,
That speaks Latin and Javanese,
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
Well! Why not?

Is this a “serious” poem? A “real” poem? Sure. Why not? It’s a tribute to the power of imagination, which makes every poem sing. Without imagination, without whimsy, the world would be a dull place indeed. In this poem, you can almost hear the parent-child conversation over the kitchen table, a forkful of pancakes poised in midair.

By writing about La Fourmi, Desnos has made it exist. It’s like the “elephant in the room”: now that it has been mentioned, you’re all going to be thinking about this giant ant and its…antics.

Note that Desnos has declared that mètres and tête rhyme. That’s because the /r/ at the end of mètres is barely audible, so the rhyme sound is /ett/. It’s what is known as a “near rhyme”.

The last line of the poem is supposed to be indented, but the formatting options on this blog don’t seem to be allowing that. You will have to use your imagination….

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One response to “Ça n’existe pas.

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