La Marsellaise – Claire Gathercole


In my mind I am in their garden –

my dear friends in Auxerre who will be

grieving so much at the terror they

face and puzzled by our desertion.


In my mind I look for Caroline

the tortoise searching the undergrowth

like her for a ripe apricot from

their wonderful délicieux tree –

le goût of which is surely unique


In my mind I am walking out with

them to buy some pain each fine morning

to eat pour le petit dejeuner.

A good habit which I grew to love.


In my mind I think of the ties that

bind us, remembering happy times

when our children played together in

their teens and later visits which still

continue as we all grow older.


But now I find they no longer walk

to buy their daily bread.  Last time

I visited they gave me sweet brioche

to break my fast … and nowadays their

supermarché sells English cut loaves.


In my mind when La Marsellaise

is played, I sing it too and weep a

tear for their awful predicament.

How can we leave them now and pretend

that we are not part of one another?