Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien?

Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien?1

Un de perdu, dix de retrouvĂ©s. 2
Is how we calculate precisely how many fishes remain when one has departed: a ten to one ratio. It seems worth it. Who would not choose to lose one fish? 

Un bienfait n'est jamais perdu.3
Is an encouragement to accomplish good deeds, as they are never lost, are they? The cake and compliments given remain, although the fish that received them is lost. 

Tout souvenir perdu est un appauvrissement.4 
Although the fish itself is easily replaced, the memory of it is a treasure. While hooking bait and throwing float, a fisherman should always make time for reminiscing. 

Le bien perdu rend l'homme avare.5
Is a reflection on the psychical. The nautical hunter having lost his harvest, he is likely to want more when he sails out next - hence, the invention of the dragnet. 

L'amour est un combat perdu d'avance.6
Well, now, we know. And yet, every morning, the fisherman puts on his waxed coat, his yellow hat, tall boots, and walks into the sea again, hoping against the wind. 

1 Plenty more fish, yes, but how many?
2 Where one is lost, ten more are found.
3 A good deed is never lost.
4 Every memory lost is an impoverishment.
5 A lost good makes man a miser.
6 Love is a battle lost in advance.

Lorelei Bacht

3 Questions for Lorelei

What was your process for creating this work?

* Erynie emerged fully formed, but contained many identifying details / references to other people who would not have wanted to be featured in it. I decided to blank out the specifics, in order to keep the emotional kernel of the poem, and to create a space for the reader to fill with their own particulars - an invitation to co-construct meaning.

* Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien? is an attempt at combining languages in a single poem, which I found extremely difficult at first - I had never allowed my multilingual thinking to express itself on paper. This attempt is still heavily partitioned - apologetic, almost. I am working towards allowing a more organic form of multilingualism in my writing. I did have fun rounding up and examining cliches for this.

* grief a study in grey hovered in the air for days, then wrote itself with very uneven line breaks. I also kept embellishing and losing the threat of the one idea that is at the core of the poem. It underwent several revisions, and was abandoned for a while. Then, I took a fresh look at it and realised that I needed to remove about 3/4 of it, to simply state the weird greyness of grief.

What is the significance of the form/genre(s) you chose for this work?

* Erynie: the gap-fill enables the reader to complete the story with their own particulars, instead of being bogged down in mundane gossip about who did what. It makes the whole thing playful and participative, instead of a mere recrimination.

* Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien? is an exploration of cliches about love in French. All the unexamined phrases people throw at you when hearing about your marital difficulties - plenty more fish in the sea, etc. Every stanza starts with one of these sayings, but quickly turns into a slightly surreal retelling of the speaker's actual story.

* grief a study in grey: the form of the poem recreates the particular emotion it describes. It is shapeless, unpunctuated, a block of grey that tells itself but refuses to be broken open, processed. A form of waiting. A silence.

What is the significance of this work to you?

All these poems are explorations of an emotional situation at a given moment. They are not the final truth on what happened, did not happen, should or should not have happened, or will happen. They are simply a place in which something stated itself, and the act of witnessing it. Having lost some, found some, I am happy to move on. 

Lorelei Bacht is a multicultural poet and lover of all things bizarre living in Asia. Her work has appeared / is forthcoming in such publications as Visitant, The Wondrous Real, Quail Bell, Abridged Magazine, Odd Magazine, Postscript, Strukturriss, The Inflectionist Review and Slouching Beast Journal. She is also on Instagram: @lorelei.bacht.writer

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