Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #8 is “Use these words in a poem – rice, mice, nice.”

Three rhyming words, perfect for a Vers Beaucoup.  Very French.  Which sparked a memory of a passage in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  The author, an American who resides in France part-time, tells of an appointment with his French dentist.  The TV is always tuned to the French travel channel.  This day, a family in Africa has discovered a burrow of mice.  David turns away to answer the assistant’s question and turns back to find the family eating mouse-kebabs they’ve grilled over a campfire.  Unable to keep it to himself, he interrupts the dental proceedings, struggling with his limited vocabulary to convey what he has just seen, “Ils ont mange des souris en brochette!” (“They ate mice on skewers!”)  Without blinking an eye, the dentist replies, “Ah, oui?”  (“Oh yeah?”)

I’m not that cosmopolitan.  I have never eaten mice or any other kind of vermin, and thanks to the association of Coronavirus with “alternative meats” in the press, I probably never will.  So don’t get all grossed out, the poem is 100% make-believe.  The photo is from Google Images but the paper plate looks oddly familiar.  I think I may have the same ones.


When I’m in the mood for street food, I know a dude
who peddles barbecued mice with a side of fried rice
for a nice price.  No more bat, his sales fell flat when
WHO’s Fat Cats found them liable for the viral spiral

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10 thoughts on “PARDON MY FRENCH

  1. judyrutrider April 17, 2020 / 12:13 am

    I might have known you were a David Sedaris fan. Your poem would make him laugh for sure. I love the way he says “underpants”. Seriously, who else do you know who writes about sitting in a doctor’s waiting room in his underpants…in France?!?! Ya gotta luv him. D’accord?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 17, 2020 / 9:26 am

      Hey, Judy. David Sedaris is a legend! I first heard him on This American Life on NPR. It was just before Christmas and he read from The Santaland Diaries (about his adventures as an elf at Macy’s)–I was hooked. He’s been talking about “underpants” forever. I guess his dad used to answer the door in them. I gleaned a lot of insight into France’s universal health care system by reading his accounts of it. He said his doctor, a tired old man who sighed a lot, always made him feel like a hypochondriac. He would go in with a legitimate complaint, like a lump on his stomach that might be cancer, and the doctor would say it was nothing, a benign fatty tumor. When David asked about having it removed, the doctor said dogs get them all the time, why he would want to risk surgery to get rid of something harmless? How would that go over in the USA? I know even less French than David (read: none) but I’m going to guess “D’accord?” means “Do you agree?” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu April 17, 2020 / 9:33 am

    Those barbecued mice actually look kind of tasty, to me. But I’m one of those who has a willingness to try exotic foods. And what’s a little coronavirus going to hurt?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 17, 2020 / 10:41 am

      You would try those, Tippy? I like exotic food, too, but you’re apparently braver than me! Those in the know would probably say it tastes like chicken. People who have died from Corona might disagree with you, but dead men put up no argument. Besides, you have enough to worry about with that Indy car burning rubber in your chest. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu April 17, 2020 / 11:29 am

        Good point. That dratted IndyCar is going to keep me from visiting China and sampling all their rare delicacies.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. circumstance227 April 17, 2020 / 2:52 pm

    I’m betting Sedaris can thank Santaland for the majority of his fan base – of which I am one. And that was my introduction to him, too. I’m impressed with what you could do with – let’s face it – a fairly boring prompt. Here’s my contribution:

    The mice ate the nice rice.
    Does this suffice?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 17, 2020 / 5:06 pm

      It suffices just fine! Go you! Maybe Santaland Diaries was Sedaris’s big break? I’ve met a lot of people who entered Sedaris fandom via Macy’s. I’ve even seen a live performance–hubby got me tickets for Christmas one year and we sat in the second row. Talk about a thrill! 🙂


  4. Chevvy April 21, 2020 / 10:55 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised though that some people take short cuts. Hope there are no rats and mice in our minced meat:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 21, 2020 / 12:30 pm

      I hadn’t thought about what might be hiding in ground meats. Though I’ve heard horror stories about scrap meat and by-products that go into things like hotdogs and pet foods. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chevvy April 21, 2020 / 4:09 pm

        Unfortunately, there are too many unscrupulous people out there. Gotta take care.


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