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Laurence Vielle reads “Excuse me” by the poet Albane Gellé

Laurence Vielle reads the words of the French poet Albane Gellé. “Excuse Me”, from “Equilibriste de passage” published by Le Castor Astral, 2022.

“Excuse me”, Albane Gellé

Excuse me, I’m going to go to a prehistoric and very quiet forest, on the other side of the road. I’m going to go and talk to an animal because animals give bee kisses and because they know silence.

Excuse me for coming back again to this story of silence. It’s because of my battle to save the silence. Not a big battle with tanks and soldiers, no,

A little battle waged underground, without a drum, without a trumpet either, without a shout. A battle with many animals on my side, animals on my side. Ponies, horses, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, mice, chickens, birds, cockchafers. A battle with animals, and with word phrases. Sentences of unspoken words. Not said out loud. Not improvised in the mouth. Animals and phrases of words by my side, on my side, for this little battle of silence.

You understand, my animals and my sentences need the prehistoric and very quiet forest. They don’t know how to throw themselves into the great world of words with electric neon lights and high speed. My animals and my sentences do not know how to play with the immense din of words in the mouth. It’s because they fought a long time, I told you, and the battles are tiring.

Rest assured, they know what it means to play, and they like to play sometimes too. With slopes to slide down, cards to make magic, balloons to catch up on. They’re not scared, they’re not reserved, they’re not shy. They’re not even flimsy. They pay attention. My animals and my sentences are careful not to let the silence that was stolen from them long ago be taken back.

The voices of my animals do not cover mine and I make sure to hear the voices of my animals who speak without words. I take care not to cover their voices, I take care not to make them disappear. And it’s the same battle as that of silence. The battle so that the animals don’t disappear, the battle so that the voices don’t get swallowed up, the battle so that the sentences and I can continue to breathe.

That’s why I’m going to go to the prehistoric and very quiet forest.

I’m sorry, I beg your pardon, I thank you, I love you.