Saturday, April 19, 2014

Slowly Speeding Ahead

The train ticket has been purchased, the decision made: I will be leaving France at the end of July. Which is not to say I won't come back! In fact, as part of my projet tutoré I am going to be sending out CVs this week to services de remplacement in different regions, and submitting my application on line through the national service based in Paris that matches agricultural enterprises who need temporary workers (due to accident, illness, maternity leave, planned vacations, etc.) with people like me who are willing to do that work. I'm hoping to get my student visa extended a few months so that if I'm actually offered a job it will be easier to apply for a work visa. Apparently changing from "student" to "employed" is a matter of changing the color of the label on my dossier, or the equivalent, but if I'm not still a student and have gone back to being a tourist, my dossier will be shredded (or the equivalent) and I'll have to start from the beginning with a new visa application. Which might require going back to San Francisco. In any event, much more complicated.

Only two more weeks of school left, at the end of May, which is cause for much rejoicing. And despair because YIKES I still have so much work to do on my two projects it's not even funny. Everything is in my head for my personal project (due May 15) but almost nothing is on paper; the Ferme Bergeras project (due June 15) is halfway written, at least, and will be fairly easy to finish. I hope.

The housesitting assignments are falling into place. I will be near Jonzac, north of Bordeaux, for the last two weeks of July, taking care of a house and two rental gîtes and two dogs for a UK couple who are going back to visit family. I've booked and bought my ticket from Jonzac to London on July 31st but at this point I'm not entirely sure what happens then; I've applied for another housesitting job the first week of August, and I still really, really want to go to the World Pipe Band Competition on August 16th, so I'm looking for places to stay in Glasgow - and London, I suppose, or anywhere between - between August 1st and 17th. I've applied for several housesitting jobs during the last two weeks of August, and have a job taking care of a house and two cats for three weeks in September. And whither then? I cannot say.

To dresse Snayles.

Take your Snayles (they are no way so as in Pottage) and wash them well in many waters, and when you have done put them in a white Earthen Pan, or a very wide Dish, and put as much water to them as will cover them, and then set your Dish or Pan on some coales, that it may heat by little and little, and then the Snayles will come out of the shells and so dye, and being dead, take them out, and wash them very well in Water and salt twice or thrice over; then put them in a Pipkin with Water and Salt, and let them boyle a little while in that, so take away the rude slime they have, then take them out againe and put them in a Cullender; then take excellent sallet Oyle and beat it a great while upon the fire in a frying Pan, and when it boyls very fast, slice two or three Onyons in it, and let them fry well, then put the Snayles in the Oyle and Onyons, and let them stew together a little, then put the Oyle, Onyons, and Snayles altogether in an earthen Pipkin of a fit size for your Snayles, and put as much warm water to them as will serve to boyle them, and make the Pottage and season them with Salt, and so let them boyle three or foure hours; then mingle Parsly, Pennyroyall, Fennell, Tyme, and such Herbs, and when they are minced put them in a Morter, and beat them as you doe for Green-sauce, and put in some crums of bread soaked in the Pottage of the Snayles, and then dissolve it all in the Morter with a little Saffron and Cloves well beaten, and put in as much Pottage into the Morter as will make the Spice and bread and Herbs like thickning for a pot, so put them all into the Snayles and let them stew in it, and when you serve them up, you may squeeze into the pottage a Lemon, and put in a little Vinegar, or if you put in a Clove of Garlick among the Herbs, and beat it with them in the Morter; it will not tast the worse; serve them up in a Dish with sippets of Bread in the bottom. The Pottage is very nourishing, and they use them that are apt to a Consumption.

- The Compleat Cook (1658)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Have Gone Astray

I am not where I thought I would be at this point, nor am I doing exactly what I had planned to be doing when I moved over here in 2012. Of course, since those thoughts and plans involved a good bit of dream projection and counted on me being a lot more proactive and productive than I know I generally am, they weren't very realistic. Or perhaps they were realistic, and would have become reality if I had done the work and put in the time to make them so. That's the annoying thing about dreams - they don't usually just translate fully-fleshed into the real world at the wave of a hand by the genie of the magic lamp. Sometimes they do, but not often. And not this time. On the other hand, I've come close in many ways, and while certain unpaved roads have come to dead ends I think the main highway is still leading in the same direction:

I'm not cruising around France staying in hotels and interviewing cheesemakers, on a budget funded by several high-end magazines who have added me to their payroll ... but I do have the possibility of writing an article for one magazine soon.

I haven't written any books based on my wacky adventures in France, nor have publishers been beating down my door to offer me contracts based on this oh-so-amusing blog ... but I am slowly putting things into place for self-publishing a cookbook this fall.

I haven't been making my way around Europe trading dairy work for room and board ... but I did do my stage in Séchilienne last year under that arrangement, and it worked out well.

I haven't become an expert on cheese ... but I've learned about a lot of other things that I hadn't known before, and now have a much more well-rounded set of skills to bring with me to dairies and other small agricultural businesses here and - why not? - around the world.

With the last twenty months to look back over, it's time to weigh my options and consider what works and what doesn't work about each aspect of this vagabond lifestyle.

Freelance Work

WHAT WORKS: Being able to earn money in odd corners of the day and in odd corners of the globe. Having a variety of projects, from ones that I can do in a few minutes to those that take a few weeks, which makes the work interesting. Enjoying what I do - I like writing, and I like editing. Earning at least the minimum needed to pay for living expenses.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The fact that "the minimum needed" in that last statement involves an average over time, not necessarily any specific month. For example, I'd be hard pressed to pay rent and groceries on what I'm currently bringing in. I don't have time to look for more work, though I'm hugely grateful to the one steady client I do have. What's more, I need internet access, and that's not always practical, especially if I'm on the move. There could be a problem as well if one of those big weeks-long projects comes up and I'm working at a dairy; if I've promised to do a certain amount of work per day for my keep, I can't suddenly say "sorry, I'll be in my room for the next two weeks" - but I can't afford to turn down big projects. Finally, none of the things that I write for hire are being published under my name, which means I'm not building a portfolio.

Work/Stay Arrangements

WHAT WORKS: Being on site so I don't have to try to commute to a dairy for 6am milking with a nonexistent car. Getting to know people and how they live and what they like, learning from them and sharing with them and enjoying a temporary family so I don't miss my own family so much all the time. Seeing new places and eating new food.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The fact that I sometimes don't have a choice about the food, which can complicate things. In general, everyone's been helpful, sometimes even buying things they wouldn't normally, like quinoa or soy milk, to stock the pantry for me. But when the family is used to eating cheesy pasta four times a week and the person in charge of cooking is already busy, it's something that they may see as too much trouble. Yet I can't not mention my food allergies up front - I can't arrive on their doorstep and move in and then say, "Oh, by the way ..." Privacy is another issue, or lack of it. I need privacy for the freelance work, but also for my peace of mind, and that means a room to myself. Not everyone has a spare bedroom they want to give up for the duration, much less a spare house. But I don't think I could spend more than a week or two sharing a room with someone. The fact that I don't have a car means that I'm pretty well stuck on site; your average dairy is not found in the middle of a bustling city, of course, but neither is it usually on a public transport route. Or if it is, it's one of the ones where the bus comes by once a day, or once a week. That means unless my hosts are willing to let me borrow a vehicle, or take me out sightseeing, the "new places" will be limited to pasture, barn, and cheeseroom.

Writing

WHAT WORKS: I'm not sure, yet, because I haven't written anything under my own name or tried to publish it. I'm getting there, though. Theoretically, this could be at least a small trickle of money, if not a major income stream (at first, she says in hopes of future publishing fame).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: That's easy, because one of the reasons I haven't written anything for publication is that I haven't had time, being busy with either school or working for room and board or freelancing. And the other reason - let it not be said that I can't be honest with myself - is because I've been lazy. I have had a lot of free time that could have been spent NOT playing Lexulous or reading silly books or surfing the internet, and instead in at the very least organizing my book notes and doing online research. And of course, there's the time spent blogging - I'm not getting paid for this writing, but it's one way of keeping notes for that hypothetical wacky-adventures book, and I want to be sharing my adventures with you all anyway. Whether I can turn all of the poetry I've been translating into a book for publication is something to consider, but I do really enjoy doing those translations. The two major issues here are time, and the willpower and dedication to use that time productively.

Vagabonding

WHAT WORKS: Travel! Change! New vistas and new discoveries! I've had so much fun taking photos and meeting people and learning about the history of each place I've been.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: All that moving around gets pretty tiring, actually. That's why I'm looking for longer-term placements, within the limits of visa-free stay requirements (i.e. generally up to three months, or six months in the UK and Ireland). I'd rather settle in for a month or two than bip around every week. More travel means more cost, as well, not to mention shoving everything into and out of suitcases all the time. And I don't really enjoy traveling alone all the time, though sometimes I prefer it. It's more fun to share the travels and discoveries with people, something I try to compensate for on this blog. And I really, really miss my family these days.

Laying out all of this information in a format that I can look back on later is useful, and it would also be useful to me to get input from the outside as well. Can you help me, please? If you see possible negatives I haven't listed, or options I haven't thought of, or just want to play devil's advocate for a while, it will keep me thinking and give me new perspectives, and possibly answers I wouldn't have arrived at on my own. Or you can just keep scrolling down - or clicking to a new page because I'm getting boring, nattering on about myself all the time, sheesh, is this a travel blog or a therapy session?

There's no denying that the outcome will be determined in part by the amount of work I'm willing to put into the process, and that's something I really need to focus on as my time at school and at the pig farm are drawing to a close. I won't have an excuse then, will I? Or rather I will probably come up with excuses, but they won't be nearly as valid.

And since part of the "what doesn't work" aspect of each of the above involves time and money and internet access, I have decided to add yet another option and have signed up with a housesitting-for-hire service. I already have a three-week gig lined up in September, in fact, and am hoping that I can find more for July and August and October and on. I know it's not dairies, but it's work for room if not board - I don't get paid, but I don't have to pay anything either. I'm focusing on the UK for now, but there are gigs all over the world, so eventually I may end up in Australia or Canada.

Plus, kitties! The September job has two of them, and I'm hoping there will be more cats (and maybe chickens) with others, though I'm not ruling out dogs. Small yappy dogs aren't my cup of tea to say the least, but I've applied for one job with a greyhound that needs walking. I like big dogs, actually, as long as they're well-behaved and don't bark all the time. Hence the greyhound. But I'm focusing on cat-sitting.

Which means that I'm obviously not planning on going back to the States for a while, am I? Even though I miss you all, I'm still in adventure mode, and not quite out of money yet. And if I get my act together on the writing part, maybe I won't run out of money at all. I'm still a work in progress, but in general I like the way I'm turning out.

Cultivez votre âme aussi consciencieusement que vous soignez aujourd'hui votre corps.
(Take care of your soul as carefully as you're taking care of your body.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All We Like Sheep

J’avais une brebis à tête cornue;
Quand je l’avais, j’étais riche, oh! oui, bien riche!
Deuil à ma brebis!

Quand je la menais au bois,
Elle étranglait trois loups, d’un seul coup,
Et leur mère, et leur père, oh! oui bien!

Quand je la menais aux bruyères,
Elle rapportait de la litière à sa crèche,
Oui, dix charretées, et de bonnes!

Quand je la trayais,le matin,
J’avais plein trois fois le bassin,
Trois bassinées, et de bonnes!

Quand je la trayais, le soir,
J’avais du beurre, à minuit,
Oui, dix potées, et de bonnes potées!

Le matin, quand elle urinait,
Dix-huit moulins moulaient,
Et davantage, s’il y en avait, et bien moudre!

Avec la laine de ses deux flancs,
J’habillais tous mes enfants,
Oh! oui bien! Je les habillais bien!

Avec un peu de laine du bout de sa queue,
Je donnais un habit au prévôt,
Oh! oui bien! Un bon habit!

Avec sa queue et l’épine de son dos,
Je ferai une charrette à charroyer des pierres,
Oh! oui bien, et une bonne charrette!

Deuil à ma brebis à tête cornue,
Deuil à ma brebis!
I once had a ewe with curly horns,
And while I owned her I was rich, oh so rich!
I weep for my sheep!

When I took her into the woods,
She strangled three wolves at one go,
Including the mother and father - oh, she did!

When I took her out on the moors,
She brought back the heather for her own manger,
Yes, ten cartloads, heaped high!

When I milked her in the mornings,
I filled the bowl three times,
Three bowls full, to the brim!

When I milked her in the evenings,
I had butter by midnight,
Yes, ten crocks, of the best butter!

In the morning, when she peed,
It turned the grindstones in eighteen mills,
And would have turned more if there had been any!

With the wool from her two flanks,
I made clothes for all of my children,
Oh, yes! I dressed them well!

From a bit of wool from the end of her tail,
I gave a robe to the local judge,
Oh, yes! A lovely robe!

With her tail and her backbone,
I made a cart to haul rocks,
Oh, yes - and it's a good cart!

I weep for my ewe with the horns on her head,
I weep for my sheep!

From a collection assembled by François-Marie Luzel titled "Soniou Breiz-Izel: Chansons populaires de la Basse-Bretagne" (popular songs of western Brittany), published in 1890.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Qui bien est, qu'il ne se remueve

Whether it's said to be found over the rainbow, across the sea, high in the mountains or hidden underground, the dream of an earthly paradise has been the subject of poems and songs for centuries. A place to escape from the endless labor of daily life, to be free of its rules, to need neither money nor personal property, where all is supplied in abundance, raining down from the heavens or provided by cheerful artisans who create beautiful things and get their payment in seeing those beautiful things used. Where all is bright color and rich glitter, a contrast to the Kansas-drab undyed itchy wool tunics and dirt-floored huts of your average 13th-century peasant. Where people live in peace, a contrast to the endless territorial wars between feudal lords, and where the things strict priests condemned as sins are enjoyed as blessed virtues. The townspeople gathered in a stone-paved village square around the jongleur, a traveling minstrel and the unknown French author of the fabliau de Coquaigne, wouldn't have been any less wishful of a life of ease.

Li païs a à non Coquaigne,
Qui plus i dort, plus i gaaigne:
Cil qui dort jusqu'à miedi,
Gaaigne cinq sols et demi.
This land is named Coquaigne,
Where the more you sleep, the more you earn:
The person who sleeps until noon
Earns five and a half sous.

I certainly wanted to escape this last week, which is ironic because in many ways I am in paradise already, or at least I'm living my dreams, and of all the lovely corners in this beautiful country I was in one of the nicest. But the week started out badly with some sort of IBS flareup or bout of gastroenteritis (too many vegetables eaten in one weekend maybe, or perhaps it was the leftover smoked salmon that I threw away after the first mouthful's odd aftertaste). I didn't do more than doze Sunday night, and as soon as we arrived on campus Monday morning I went to bed, where I stayed for two days. Fortunately my room is right next to the bathrooms. I was feeling slightly better Wednesday but accepted the secretary's offer to take me to Saint-Palais to see a doctor that afternoon; she prescribed an antispasmodic and an antibiotic as well as an anti-diarrheal and said that I needed to avoid eating anything with fibre for a while. So my resources were at their very lowest, which is probably why everything seemed so hard, from understanding the class lectures to trying to make myself understood, and all of the small things that remind me every day - though I don't always register them consciously - that I am a stranger here. And even though I chose to come here, and I choose to stay here, it's not always easy. And sometimes I make it harder, whether I want to or not.

Par les chemins et par les voies
Treuve-l'en les tables assises,
Et desus blanches nappes mises:
Si puet-l'en et boivre et mangier
Tuit cel qui vuelent sanz dangier.
In the streets and alleys
You'll find tables set up for dining,
Draped with white tablecloths:
Where you can eat and drink
All that you want without worry.

Thursday (as my Facebook friends will know) was a day filled with lessons on not taking things personally. Friday was the day when things got personal. Essentially, I found out that I had seriously pissed off a fellow student for several reasons during our last five-week session at Montardon, and my attempt to apologize and clarify and explain only made things worse. There are times when my lack of complete fluency in French is a handicap, and that was one of them; part of what the student had seen as rude on my part was related to my general lack of conversational skills and a reluctance to spend time and energy socializing, and I didn't realize that this was being seen as a personal slight. Another part of the problem was entirely my fault. I can be very self-centered and oblivious, and while I like to think that I am a fairly generous person there are times that I take more than I give; in this case I didn't express my gratitude for what was given nearly enough. I have reasons that are not excuses, and I am sorry for my actions (or lack of them), but at this point I am not sure the other student is interested in hearing any of that. But at the time when I found out about all of this and was trying to discuss it, I was fumbling with words and finding it hard to follow the rapid-fire remarks, and in the end was cut off in midphrase with a curt, "Well, whatever you thought, it was wrong," before the other student walked away. I wish I had asked this student earlier about the situation, when I first got the feeling that there was something going on; I did ask, sort of, but my oblique approach got a reassurance of "no, everything's fine" so I didn't pursue it. Yet because I was asking about something specific but not directly related to either of the two main problems, the answer I got was true, but not complete, and not what I needed to know.

Encore i a autre merveille,
C'onques n'oïstes sa pareille,
Que la fontaine de Jovent
Que fet rajovenir la gent,
I est, et plusor autre rien.
There's yet another marvel there,
Whose likes you'll never hear of,
The Fountain of Jovent,
That makes people young again,
Is there, and nowhere else.

That's the hard part about language. You need to know what to ask and how to ask it, and then be able to interpret the answers and information you get back. In any language, it takes focus and attention; in a second language, it takes energy as well. It's exhausting. I'm exhausted. I'm tired of trying to make myself understood. I'm tired of being the odd one out. I'm tired of getting sideways looks because I don't do things or say things like everyone else does. I'm tired of being "the American" and receiving the full weight of jovial scorn for that gun-toting uncultured superficial overweight fast-food culture directly on my shoulders. I'm tired, in many ways, of being in France.

Until I wander into the next new place, and see something old and beautiful I wouldn't have seen anywhere else. Or I meet another funny and friendly person while I'm walking and have a short conversation that fills me with delight and makes me happy I took that particular path. Or I taste something grown and harvested and prepared as it has been for centuries in that location, the flavor of food filled with nutrients and history. Or I catch myself at the end of a day unexpectedly filled with easy communication, startled to realize that I haven't even been thinking in English.

I guess I'll stay here a little while longer.

Por fol me tieng et je si fui
Quant onques du païs me mui;
Mès je ving ça mes amis querre
Por là mener en cel terre
Se je péusse ensamble o moi,
Mès onques puis entrer n'i poi
Où chemin que lessié avoie,
Ne où sentier, ne en la voie
Ne poi-je entrer onques puis,
Et dès que je entrer n'i puis,
N'i a mès que du conforter.
You'll think me a fool and so I was
When one day I left that country;
Now I did this to find my friends
To take them to this country
So I could have them together with me,
But from that moment I lost my way
And could find no trace of the route;
No road has led there, no path
Has taken me back since then,
And as soon as I realized I could never return,
Nothing could console me for my loss.

The "Pays de Cocagne" today refers to the area around the town of Lautrec, just past Toulouse and about three hours away from here to the northeast. In the Middle Ages it was known for the cultivation of woad for blue dye; the pulp from the plants is formed into balls called "coques" for drying. The town of Albi is just north of there, which is one of the places that was on my list for Mom and John's visit, though we didn't have time to go there - it's also the birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and home of the largest museum dedicated to his work. The museum is in a giant 13th-century fortress/palace, which would make this worth a trip all by itself. See why I can't leave yet?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Promenade: Agnos to Saint-Pée d'en Bas

One advantage of staying in a place for any length of time is that you get used to your surroundings, can find your way around, feel comfortable in your routine. One disadvantage of staying in a place for any length of time is that you get used to your surroundings, and you don't see them any more, don't appreciate their beauty and uniqueness. You can find your way around, so you don't stumble upon new places that introduce you to new people and scenery. You feel comfortable in your routine, and are tempted to stay in it, or gradually find yourself unable to leave it, the ruts in your daily road so deep that it takes a major effort to turn the wheels in another direction.

I thought about all of that as I drove the family car to and from work between Agnos and the pig farm, so familiar with the route Florence and I had driven daily since October that I made the turns automatically, circling the roundabouts along the two long legs of the triangle of roads that link them. And I thought about how much I'll miss the big stone buildings, and the wooden shutters over the windows, and the fragrant (in a good way most of the time, except when they've been spreading manure) corn fields everywhere. Jeannette needed the car on Sunday, so Monday I walked the short leg of the triangle, skirting the hill between the Vert and the Mielle.

The biggest building in Agnos is not far from the church, and to me it looks as if the rest of the buildings in town grew up around it. Instead of a huge grange for animals with a small house tacked on, it's a huge house that connects to the grange via a covered gallery. It faces an open field, and I imagine that the fields went out even further, and that this was where the local gentry lived once upon a time, within easy walking distance of the church and with a view south over their lands towards the mountains. There are usually a few cows in the field, whose once-shiny gate is now tied closed with a twist of wire. The elementary school to one side of the field houses herds of children, and there's a largish industrial zone at the far end.

So much stone in these buildings, and so much work to stack them one over the other to build the thick walls. Huge wooden beams support the lofts, and the window openings are often formed by balancing two large flat rocks on end on top of another large flat rock, and topping the whole with a fourth. There's been a town here since at least the 14th century, and some of these buildings may date back nearly as far.

Other buildings, not nearly as attractive (to me) are springing up like mushrooms on the edge of town. I was told that the new mayor wants to attract people to the area, and doesn't care as much about the farming fields currently surrounding the town. Since I started work here in October, at least a dozen homes have been built on the road leading towards Oloron-Sainte-Marie, and in the last month or so the families have started moving in.

The children will go to primary school in town, but there's no secondary school. Every morning a big Greyhound-size bus drives through the center of town, picking up the teenagers waiting on the steps of the church. It barely fits between the houses on either side of the narrow street, built when the only traffic went by on two feet or four.

There's another large building just outside of town, on the banks of the Mielle, that's for rent. It's also a big many-roomed house, with a large barn and grange in back, and what looks like a place that would be just perfect for a dairy between them. Plenty of water coming from the Mielle - more than plenty, according to Florence, who says that the road is often closed by spring floods. A few small pastures that could hold a herd of goats big enough for a decent batch of cheese every few days, and a view of the mountains that would be beautiful at any time of year. Time to buy a lottery ticket ...

But no, I don't want my own business. I think I need to learn more about goat husbandry in order to be most useful to the dairies to whom I am writing, but that's something I can pick up (I hope) on the job. Although I've considered looking for yet another school program, one focused on the care and feeding of goats, I believe I'm done with school for now. I've been copying out cheese recipes lately, the ones I looked up last year at the library in Tours, and am constantly seeing myself sharing those recipes with cheesemakers, working with them to try to decipher the sometimes vague directions. Playing around with cheese, with the exact proportions and timings and temperature-and-humidity settings in the aging rooms, trying to replicate a cheese or, even more fun, creating a new one.

Tristan Derème is the poet who used to live on this road, in his mother's house where he went home to die. I walked this road from the other direction back in December, following a herd of sheep. At this end, it was cows; they ambled over curiously when I stopped to take a picture, but I wasn't as interesting as the new green grass. There were daffodils blooming in the yards I walked by, and the wisteria was just starting to flower. The cherry and apple trees were covered with blossoms and the piercing yellow of forsythia replaced the sunshine that I'd left behind in Agnos, as I finished the last few hundred metres in the rain.

Tu parus. Mais les doigts posés sur le loquet,
Tu t’arrêtas avec un air interloqué.
Puis devant les papiers qui encombraient la table,
Tu dis. « Cette maison devient inhabitable ! »
Et ton sautoir frémit dans ses cent trois maillons.
Voici bientôt deux mois que nous nous chamaillons,
Voici deux mois bientôt que je t’ai rencontrée
Et que je sais ton goût natif pour l’eau sucrée,
Les pommes vertes, les promenades, les sous-
Bois en octobre et les romans à quatre sous.
Tu grondes, mais je sens, dans nos pires querelles,
Quand bondissent les mots comme des sauterelles,
Que tu n’es que tendresse et qu’au fond tu souris
En ton cœur plus léger qu’une dent de souris.

You stopped on your way out, your fingers on the latch, and looked around aghast. Standing before the table covered in piles of paper you said, "This house is becoming uninhabitable!" with such force that the hundreds of links in your golden necklace shivered and trembled. It'll be two months soon that we've been bickering, two months since I met you, since I learned that you like sweetened water, and green apples, and walks; that you like the woodlands in October and dime-store novels. You scold, but I can tell even in our worst quarrels, when words are bouncing back and forth like grasshoppers, that you are nothing but tenderness; you're smiling underneath, your heart light as a mouse's tooth.

- Tristan Derème, La Verdure dorée XII (1922)