The following are excerpts from a poem by Lulu M. Lumpkin, University High School Los Angeles, California.

Dr. Dewey after A.S. Polinsky, West Essex Regional Schools, No Caldwell, discovered this feat of ryhtming in the magazine Forum, Oct. 1972.

Why Study French?

[…] It is the sheer pleasure of the language that appeals

And so rhythmically and musically its beauty reveals,

That one hears in it by way of intense imagination,

The sound of French history and civilization.

It is the trickling of the fledging Seine at its source,

Before it gathers momentum on its serpentine course,

And in Paris supports numerous bridges, really twenty-nine.

It is the whistling of the Mistral, sharp as a carabine.

It is the mirror-like calmness of the clear river Cher;

Of Chenonceaux, it is the memorable son-et-lumière.

It is the staccato sound of the printing presses in Lyon,

As they harmonize with the hum of the loons near the Saone.

French echoes the popes in the palace of Avignon;

It gurgles like the wine in the casks in the area of Macon.

It swings like clashing swords in medieval Carcassonne;

It splashes like the ocean at Biarritz and the pools of Bayonne.[…]

Why study French? To read the verbal music of Baudelaire;

To hear the soothing rhythms of melancholy Apollinaire.

French recalls things "remembered" by Marcel Proust,

And l’engagement to which Eluard and Péguy gave a boost.

French is soldiers marching, singing loudly la Marseillaise,

Players in the National Theatre, Opéra, or Comédie Française.

It is also the Frenchman gratifying invitation

To join in the favorite pastime of the people: conversation.

Why study French? it is part of my education

To know in depth the language and civilization

Of the people who have had the greatest influence

In enriching our language. As a consequence,

This enrichment gives variety in synonym;

Other wise our now flavored speech would be slim

If left with the simple Anglo-Saxon word.

‘Tis monotonous to let see, wed or think be heard,

When words such as perceive, espouse, or ponder

Are available to clarify, to make precise, bring wonder

To everyday speech and writing. And that we term literature

Would be poor indeed, and hold very meager allure,

If we could use kin only, instead of relation

Or know, and not acquaint, or learning and not education.

The list could be augmented to demonstrate

That in order to know English – to be articulate,

We ought to be acquainted with the language of French

Thoroughly and in its many nuances ourselves entrench. […]


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