Le Message

This is a poem by Jacques Prevert, a French poet ca. 1950. Found it in my grammar book of all places, and (though I HATE grammar) I thought it deserved a spotlight.

Le Message

La porte que quelqu’un a ouverte
La porte que quelqu’un a refermée
La chaise où quelqu’un s’est assis
Le chat que quelqu’un a caressé
Le fruit que quelqu’un a mordu
La lettre que quelqu’un a lue
La chaise que quelqu’un a renversée
La porte que quelqu’un a ouverte
La route où quelqu’un court encore
Le bois que quelqu’un traverse
La rivière où quelqu’un se jette
L’hôpital où quelqu’un est mort.

The Message

The door that someone opened
The door that someone closed
The chair on which someone sat
The cat that someone petted
The fruit that someone bit into
The letter that someone read
The chair that someone tipped over
The door that someone opened
The road that someone ran down
The woods that someone crossed
The river in which someone jumped
The hospital where someone died.


The Clerk

Taken from Stories Without Words. The idea is to write a story based on the picture.

William Hardwicke bent low over the cigars he was placing in the display, fat, greedy brown fingers luring the customers into his little shop. His back was stiff and crooked, but he stayed as he was, spine curved, until every cigar was in place. Straightening up, he surveyed his handiwork, sighed, and exited the window. Climbing through the little doorway, he swung his shriveled legs through the opening and slowly eased himself back onto the floor. He walked to the counter.

Raising the chunk of countertop that moved to allow people in and out, he slipped behind the long granite slab and perched on his leather-seated stool. William gazed around the shop, regarding each alcove with a melancholy look. The hand-carved pipes were placed just so under a glass case. Cigar and cigarette boxes were stacked high, in multitudes of sizes and colors. He let his eyes drift back to the ancient brass cash register in front of him, running his greyish fingers along the ornate spirals carved into its surface. His whole hand quaked as he pushed down the DRAWER key, and a black rectangle slid out with a tired clang. A much louder tinkling followed the sound, like an overbearing mother-in-law.

The bell startled William. It was rare to have many customers at all these days. What with all the KPD or LCD or whatever the kids are smoking now, who needs good old-fashioned cigars anymore? he thought. The man who had entered the shop walked briskly up to the counter and began tapping his fingers on the black stone.

“Do you have any electronic cigarettes?” He asked, his tone cold and unfriendly.

“Electronic cigarettes?” William repeated, curiously. “I’ve never heard of those. I can have them sent over, though, if you’ll just–”

“No, no. No need,” said the man. He smoothed his whitish-blonde hair back, stuck out his oxford-clad foot, and promptly left the shop, letting the door bang carelessly behind him.

Click on the picture to link to Stories Without Words or check out our Favorite Blogs (on the sidebar)

Cain and Abel

The sun cast its last, blood red, sorrowful rays upon the fading image of the desert, the wide expanse of dry, barren sand stretching endlessly in all directions. Those of God’s people who were cautious and wise were in their tents, hiding from the brutal cold and the dark uncertainty of night. The final jet of glittering crimson light highlighted the silhouette of a man, walking towards tall stalks and large bushes, a jug clutched in his left hand.

His name was Cain. He was young, neither handsome nor ugly, appearing as bland as the sand covering the ground around him. He stepped away from the desert, onward towards the bushy shapes in the distance, until he arrived at his destination. There, barely recognizable in the dark blue night, a small plot of land where white sand should have lain was painted with dark, fertile soil. Huge green stalks of grain, squat olive trees, and rows upon rows of green shrubs erupted from the spot. It was a place unique in all the land; for miles and miles around the small patch one could not find a place so lush as this.

Cain breathed deeply as he entered the garden. The soft scent of azalea buds danced into his nostrils, accompanied by the green, earthy smell of tomato vines and the heavy scent of sweetest grapes. He bent low over a row of small sprouts, surrounded by the ethereal glow of the rising moon glinting off their leaves.

“There, there,” he muttered, gently stroking dirt off of one of the plant’s leaves. He sat there in silence for a moment, his grubby hand still resting delicately on the pocket of green.

“Oi,” A loud, sharp voice attacked the peaceful silence. “Cain. Get back inside, Read more…

The Boarding House

Here’s an ending I wrote to James Joyce’s The Boarding House. You can read the beginning here, but the ending’s pretty easy to understand without reading the part by Joyce.

The Boarding House–Alternate Ending

Polly sat by the front window, gazing out across the wide, busy street. She could hear the carriage wheels rolling along the cobblestones, the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves, and the muffled sounds of conversation down below. The Dublin sky seemed to glare at her with steel-grey eyes, and the clouds hung low over the city, enveloping it in a swath of mist. Polly wondered how she ended up here, in the grandiose house, full of guest rooms that were always empty, tended by servants who rarely spoke. She instinctively glanced up at the gilt clock over the mantle, a parting gift from her mother.

“Nearly 6 o’clock,” She said to herself. “Bob should be home soon…” Her husband, Robert Doran, was the owner of a wine company in the Mediterranean, and had been since the previous owner died ten years ago. He would bring his work home each night, often staying at his desk, pouring over sales projections and expense reports. He usually returned to bed in the early morning, catching a few hours of rest before he left for the office.

“Mama,” A little voice called, accompanied by a tug on Polly’s skirt. “I’m Keep Reading…

La Renaissance de Zatetique

(The rebirth of Zatetic)

Hello and welcome to the NEW Zatetic!

Since November 2007 Zatetic was a source of information, creative writing, musings, comments, and recipes. Unfortunately, in late May 2008, we began a too-long hiatus. Finally, though, Zatetic has been re-established! We plan to have the site up and running within a few weeks, bursting with new everything! All of our old posts, comments, and fun stuff can be found at The Zatetic Archive if you really miss us, and be sure to stay tuned.


The Zatetic Staff

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