A Poem

The following poem, by the elegant twentieth century French poet Jacques Prévert, to me says it all about TPRS, which here is represented in the metaphor of a bird. French text is given below the English for those interested.

PAGE D’ÉCRITURE

Jacques Prévert
Two and two make four
Four and four make eight
Eight and eight make sixteen…

Repeat! says the teacher
Two and two make four
Four and four make eight
Eight and eight make sixteen…

But there is the songbird
Passing by in the sky!

The child sees it…
The child hears it…
The child calls it:

Save me
Play with me, bird!

So the bird comes down
And plays with the child.

Two and two four…
Repeat! says the teacher

And the child plays and
The bird plays with him.

Four and four make eight
Eight and eight make sixteen

And what do sixteen and sixteen make?
They don’t make anything, sixteen and sixteen
And especially not thirty-two
Anyway
And they go away.

And the child has now hidden the bird
In his desk
And all the children
Hear his song
And all the children
Hear the music.

And eight and eight also go away
And four and four and two and two
Also leave
And one and one make neither one nor two.

One and one go away too.
And the song bird plays
And the child sings
And the teacher yells:
When will you stop acting like fools!

But all the other children
Listen to the music
And the walls of the classroom
Slowly crumble.
And the windows become sand again.

The ink becomes water again
The desks become trees again
The chalk becomes a cliff again
The inkwell again becomes a bird.

Here it is in French:

PAGE D’ÉCRITURE

Jacques Prévert

Deux et deux quatre
Quatre et quatre huit
Huit et huit font seize…

Répétez! dit le maître
Deux et deux quatre
Quatre et quatre huit
Huit et huit font seize…

Mais voilà l’oiseau-lyre
Qui passe dans le ciel!

L’enfant le voit…
L’enfant l’entend…
L’enfant l’appelle:

Sauve-moi
Joue avec moi, oiseau!

Alors l’oiseau descend
Et joue avec l’enfant.

Deux et deux quatre…
Répétez! Dit le maitre

Et l’enfant joue
L’oiseau joue avec lui…

Quatre et quatre huit
Huit et huit font seize

Et seize et seize qu’est-ce qu’ils font?
Ils ne font rien seize et seize
Et surtout pas trente-deux
De toute façon
Et ils s’en vont.

Et l’enfant a caché l’oiseau
Dans son pupitre
Et tous les enfants
Entendent sa chanson
Et tous le enfants
Entendent la musique.

Et huit et huit à leur tour s’en vont
Et quatre et quatre et deux et deux
À leur tour fichent le camp
Et un et un ne font ni un ni deux

Un a un s’en vont également.
Et l’oiseau-lyre joue
Et l’enfant chante
Et le professeur crie :
Quand vous aurez fini de faire le pitre!

Mais tous les autres enfants
Écoutent la musique
Et les murs de la classe
S’écroulent tranquillement.
Et les vitres redeviennent sable.

L’encre redevient eau
Les pupitres redeviennent arbres
La craie redevient falaise
Le porte-plume redevient oiseau.

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One Response to “A Poem”

  1. Phoebe Abrahamsen Says:

    This poem, which I was able to read in the English version, is a great mental visual for me about absolute reality for students and teachers in the class room. I am trying to keep on track and remember that I can let go of the framework of plans, etc. and embrace the bird.

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