December 2013: Estelle Lagarde

PHPA in English

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Letter to Jean-Jacques,

I have, my dear, taken quarters opposite the Panthéon

A year’s sabbatical in your company

It has the luxury of my former homes

I appreciate the service, the comfort of a good bed.

Escaping from the tomb is a good moment

To start a revolution in these crazy times.

Surprising the tourists, I appear at midnight

But, now a ghost, I frighten people.

They come to see the mysterious man like they would some sort of play

With or without my sheet, it’s at night that I come out.

Some recognise me, whisper my name

It flatters my ego, I have to admit.

They freeze my face by taking a “photo”

A single click suffices, how amazing!

What an opportunity for me, he who has returned,

To see myself in the mirror, 319 years old!

But that is definitely not the most fascinating thing,

The language has changed a lot, astonishingly

In English, I return to my old career

I “spam” I “surf”, I “tweet” for all my “followers”

No more long letters – I write this “e-mail”

More surprised each day by these extraordinary marvels

Despite our disagreements, I would so like to share

All this entertainment and wonderful treasures

Come join me here. I am registered under a false name

Ask for Monsieur Candide at reception

Let us eat together and bury the hatchet

We both believe in ideas, those pillars of the nation

A gulf divided us, but was it so deep?

What if, over time, we realised we were both right?

My friend! Even if our age was full of splendid illumination

Let us not become too nostalgic or bitter

This new age is brighter than ours, believe me!

It will inspire us to write a few verses

Let us sing together an ode to this new era

We have to thank R …, we have to thank V…

Text by Estelle Lagarde for PHPA 2013

Hotel du Pantheon