National Poetry Month: The Little One (Petite)

This poem was originally published in the Middlebury College French Gazette. I wrote it while I was auditing their 7-week total immersion language program. It was exhausting, but by Week 3, I was writing poetry in French. I’ll provide the English translation first, and then the original French. It was inspired by a common phrase in French “Quand j’etais petite” which means “When I was little.” (Photo by Albrecht Fietz.)

The Little One

When I was little
I hid myself
In the armoire
Where the cobwebs
Lilac and livid
From the fabrics.

When I was little
I danced
With the strange children
Where the trees
Dark and wild
Their secrets.

When I was little
I played
Between the mausoleums
Where the flowers
Bitter and bent
The angels.

When I was little
Sometimes the dead
When you are little  
You don’t have a choice
You don’t have a choice.

I listened.


Quand j’étais petite
Je me cachais
Dans l’armoire
Où les toiles
Lilas et livides
Des tissus.

Quand j’étais petite
Je dansais
Avec des enfants étranges
Où les arbres
Sombres et sauvages
Ses secrets.

Quand j’étais petite
Je jouais
Entre les mausolées
Où les fleurs
Pénibles et pliés
Les anges.

Quand j’étais petite
Parfois les morts
Quand tu es petite
Tu n’as pas de choix
Tu n’as pas de choix.


French Horror: 3 Great TV Shows You’ve Got to Watch

I’ve been falling out of love with cinematic horror for some time, as I find most American horror uninspired, badly written, or too dependent on gore and jumpscares. (Often all of the above.) If being grossed out is your thing, more power to you. But for me, I need something a lot more sophisticated.

Fortunately, Netflix has been delivering some incredible horror TV from foreign markets, especially France. These three French shows are some of the best horror I’ve ever seen.

1. Les Revenants (The Returned)

That kid is the creepiest part of the series.

This show was originally released in 2012, but was new to me in 2014. It was even made into a completely inferior American version. While I wasn’t enchanted by Season 2, the first season of this utterly original “zombie” story was breathtaking.

People who have been dead for years — in some cases decades — start returning home, utterly unaware that they died in the first place. Most in fact died under violent circumstances. And that’s just before the story goes truly bonkers. The powerful emotions this show evokes deepen the dread of this paranormal tale in a way that one rarely ever finds in horror. For me, that’s what makes this show one of my all-time favorites.

2. Black Spot (Zone Blanche)

I’m completely wild about this show because hits three sweet spots for me:

  1. It’s a bloody police procedural with a new mystery in every episode and an overarching mystery each season.
  2. It’s unexpectedly hilarious at times with wonderful characters like the gay policeman named Teddy Bear and the hyperallergic, ultra-awkward detective Siriani.
  3. It’s pagan AF. Set in the mountainous, isolated Villefranche, which has an insanely high murder rate and a monster that resembles Cernunnos, the story blends France’s Celtic history with horror in a very satisfying way.

I also adore the main character, Major Laurène Weiss, chief of police. The women are all tough, complicated, and secretive — she more than anyone. While I was initially puzzled by her relationship with Bertrandt, the story behind their bond was eventually revealed. And, wow — c’est fou, y’all.

Season 3 is rumored to be headed to Netflix in June 2020. I can’t wait!

3. Marianne

With Marianne, writer and showrunner Samuel Bodin has created something as intoxicating and frightening as The Ring. This outstanding original horror series is about a famous female horror author, Emma Larsimon, who is lured back to her hometown to do battle with the evil spirit that has been terrorizing her dreams and that is now killing her loved ones. Every episode starts with a literary quote. You know shit’s about to get more than real when Lovecraft opens an episode.

Victoire Du Bois (Call Me By Your Name) plays the arrogant, alcoholic Emma to perfection, especially as Marianne’s bloodshed brings Emma to her knees. But as the layers are peeled back on the characters and the horror they face, it’s forgiveness and the strength of female friendship that entwine to become the twin heartbeats of this tale.

So, what are you waiting for? Dépêche-toi!