OK, last poem for a while, I promise.  I will be back with some prose and some reviews or discussions of writerly influences next week. 

Almost immediately after I write that, I ask myself: why do I feel apologetic about writing ‘only’ poems?  I am not implying that writing poems is the easy or lesser option.  Just that, in my case, it is very often compensation activity for not finishing that b***** novel.  Come on, lass, only 2 chapters to go (or so I believe). 

Anyway, this poem is about the challenges of a normally chatty, even glib person becoming tongue-tied in a new country with a language she only half-speaks.  Yep, this time it is personal!

One might say the magic faraway tree

is walking away and not toward me,

Always almost, but never quite there.

Haunted by failure, aware of the dangers,

I navigate, anxious, between the extremes.

All blandness in word choice,

accents raining in all directions,

avoiding the telephone for fear of rapid riposte.

My jokes are more plodding,

some meaning eludes me.

I snigger along even when I am lost.

Distracted by how I pronounce the word ‘pain’,

the baker hands me the wrong kind of bread.

I think I’ll stick to baguette in future.



11 thoughts on “Mal-Entendu”

  1. Many will identify with the feelings you express so vividly, Marina.

    The lines I especially like are ‘accents raining in all directions’
    ‘I snigger along even when I am lost’

    Genius 🙂

    1. So nice of you to say that! But I do recognise a procrastination technique (in myself) when I see one… At this rate, I’ll have a book of poems before I have that novel finished!

  2. Can’t imagine you ever being tongue-tied, honey! I remember your linguistic genuis, you’re like a chameleon! Great poem, and… are you nearly nearly done with your WIP??? how exciting!!! xx

  3. This poem speaks to me! I now live in an Arabic speaking country, still working like a mule to learn the language. It’s both funny and embarrassing to say something proudly, that you’ve just learnt only to have your audience laugh good-naturedly at you and correct your syntax, accent and pronunciation. It’s a daily adventure! Thanks for sharing it!

    1. The French are very good at correcting you – for which I am truly grateful. But it makes my husband unwilling to even attempt to say something!

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.