Le mot juste



Le mot juste

Searching for what exactly?
For the exact word, le mot juste,
the word that sums it all up,
catches the essence of the thing
and holds it in the mind forever.

Le mot juste? Think color.
Think color blind. Think blind.
Think of the world we see
reduced to grey scale.
Think of the seven colors
that stripe the rainbow sky,
each with a unique name:
it seems so easy, so simple.

But the world has changed.
Think now of the computer,
its screen more accurate
than the human eye and color
coordinated by a million or more
tiny little pixels that multiply
the seven rainbow colors
by a million or two and every
color numbered beyond
the recognition point
of the human eye: le mot juste
reduced to precision of number.

Think flowers. Think scent.
Think of the limited ways
we describe the smell of things.

I look across the breakfast table
and see my wife of fifty years,
a teenager reborn, walking into
the café where we first met.
I search my memory and my mind
for the words to describe that beauty,
that surge of excitement,
but I cannot find les mots justes.

19 thoughts on “Le mot juste

  1. It would be too difficult to compare the two and choose only one. I’m a fan of words, they speak to me of so much that would otherwise be lost to all time. I like both versions, and am glad I didn’t have to only read one and never know the beauty of the other. Happy pending Anniversary to you and Clare.


  2. Hi Roger, i am in McLeod Ganj, where lives the Dalai Lama, cool, eh? Tried to comment on your post but internet connection is too weak. I enjoyed this poem, thanks for posting it. Hi to Clare, qwho walked into that cafe so many years ago. Take care. @

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for being here, Allison. Glad you liked the poem. Many things happening in my life. I’ll tell you all about them when you return. You have been a wanderer for these last few months … good for you!


      • Ok, I did comment, then. Thought I was simply answering via eMail.
        A glorious sunrise in the foothills of the Himalayas! Take care; hoping May flowers arrive soon in beautiful NB.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think we have four incheds of rain arriving first, and all due this weekend. Floods in Ottawa and Quebec and the river very high here with light flooding in Freddy, the road closed in Maugerville and heavy flooding in Jemseg.


      • Yoiks about the water, a monsoon. I am aware of the tension that infuses the minds of those with property and loved ones on the mighty St. John. And on the Nashwaak, Jemseg, and all the Miramichis. The Petticodiac, too? India has a fraction of what water we have in Canada. I send you all drying thoughts, and a nod to the goddess of sump pumps.–@

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clare says we had 14 mms on Friday, 56 mms on Saturday, and it poured all night with more rain still to come. A monsoon indeed. Clare says 10-15 mms overnight, but it might have been more. TCH near to flooding between Grand Lake and the river, just before Jemseg.


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