Polly

Writings and Witterings

Smoking Bastille

35 Comments

A French Twist for Quatorze Juillet

Over @ dVerse Poets today, K of ManicDDaily takes us on a little french twist tour in her poetry prompt for Bastille day.

Smoking Bastille

Voltaire could neither put up nor shut up,
[He famously said ‘Let us read … let us dance …’]
Imprisoned twice in the Bastille,
His delight at
The fall of the smoking Bastille
Would see major celebrations.
Fast forward to  …
Gauloises Disque Bleu,
Elegant,
Cool,
Showing-off smoking.
Gauloises Disque Bleu,
Cough your way through them …
Prisoners of nicotine,
Echo Voltaire
In the Bastille,
Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Neither put up nor shut up.
So hooked that chemotherapy is
Enjoyed
Smoking Gauloises Disque Bleu.

The video is of Alain Bashung, a famous French singer who was such a fan of Gauloises Disque Bleu, it is said he refused to quit even during his chemotherapy.

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35 thoughts on “Smoking Bastille

  1. yikes…so hooked that chemo is enjoyed…that is a rather disturbing thought to me…i think in this you capture a bit of the attitude…smiles.

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  2. The poem travels an interesting journey – so hooked that chemotherapy is enjoyed – I know smokers who would not exactly say that, but can’t give up either. Smoking certainly a huge aspect of French culture- crazy! k.

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    • Smoking is a big part of French culture, or at least used to be. You’ll see I’ve added some info on the famous French musician who really did refuse to give up his beloved Disque Bleu even when having chemotherapy … or so legend has it (!)

      Love the elephant in the cover pic ‘Little-known (studio) variation of Delacroix’s Liberte Guidant Le Peuple’ – what a hoot!

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  3. I didn’t know that about them ~ Well my hubby is a smoker, so I am familiar with the addiction. Thanks for sharing it ~

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  4. You wicked woman for such a take on my innocent comments about Bastille and its smouldering ruins…
    Yes, there is a lot of smoking in French films (Simone Signoret does it beautifully)… not so much in public places any more. As for storming our personal Bastilles: Alain Bashung addicted to smoking, Voltaire addicted to coffee, all of us addicted to the things that harm us…

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  5. Oh, what a sad/interesting story about Alain Bashung, I didn’t know that. I love this line: “Cough your way through them…”

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    • It is an interesting story and one I didn’t know about until I started to research French cigarettes … one can’t imagine carrying on, but as everyone has said, it’s about addiction …

      Many thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated.

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  6. Voltaire, the Bastille, Bruce Willis, and cigarettes, all in one poem. Leave it to Polly! 🙂

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  7. oh heck…heavy smokers are kinda imprisoned indeed….in their very own bastille..and if they not even manage to let go in the face of a serious sickness, how thick those walls have become..

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  8. It’s one of the worst addictions known. This is a cautionary tale.

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  9. Yes, I like the interpretation of this as being a cautionary tale. Truly eerie the hook that cigarettes get into a person. And I heard that French cigarettes are really STRONG! I didn’t watch the video. (I couldn’t…)

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    • Yes, that’s right, Mary, French cigarettes are renowned for their strength, hence the cough. And of course nicotine is horrendously addictive.

      Many thanks for your thoughts.

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  10. a serious addiction to enjoy the consequence of cancer and chemo….

    delightful poem

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  11. Well, that is one powerful, scary thought: an addiction so strong it makes chemo enjoyable–chemo required because of the addiction. Thank you.

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  12. Great job. I really enjoyed it.

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  13. so sad, with such a powerful picture with the blade in the foreground –

    but, we are human, and should acknowledge those things that can ensnare us in their composition, and nicotine, for many a year, was exactly that for me –

    my smoking-bastille day was in march of ’83 😉

    powerful piece, thank you

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  14. Sometimes poetry opens up a dialogue … thank you so much for your thoughts. And if you mean what I think you mean re your own Smoking Bastille day, ie that was when you stopped smoking, then I am pleased for you …

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  15. As an ex smoker I can definitely relate 😉
    Excellent poem 😀

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  16. Love this! Really clever parallels and imagery I really enjoyed reading.

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  17. Polly, this was amusing but sad. I lost my singing career to smoking in nightclubs. I didn’t smoke; they did it for me, and now I have a bronchial condition to show for my 30 years… The Bastille and Voltaire beginning was rich, rich… and the end, another prison, right? Addiction. We build our own Bastilles, each in our own way, I suppose. Excellent write, Polly. Amy

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    • Ah, Amy, how sad to lose your singing career in such a way … G worked in the evenings as a DJ for many years and says sometimes you could barely see across the room for the smoke ‘you could cut it with a knife, it was unbelievable’ and he often wonders if his recurrent cough is a legacy from those days, like you he has never smoked.

      Yes, you’ve completely ‘got it’, I knew you would, thank you so much for your thoughts ~ Polly

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