Infinite Culture

Music. Art. Culture. Writing.

J’écris ton nom – I write your name (Freedom)

I had the pleasure of reading poems to students at Green Fields Country Day School in Tucson last month. I invited the students to send me some poetry, and below I have published a collection of pieces from the school’s French IV students who recently completed 2-strophe works inspired by Paul Eluard’s poem “LIBERTÉ” (written near the time of the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation in 1944). This is a line which was seen on many of the banners and signs that people were carrying during the massive demonstrations in France last month: “j’écris ton nom” — meaning, I write your name… (freedom) where the act of writing the word serves to make it flesh, and appear and endure.

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By Noah McKenna

Je suis chrétien
Je suis juif
Je suis musulman
Je suis Charlie

Ils utilisent la peur
Nous utilisons nos mots
C’est une guerre d’expression
Je suis Charlie

Translation to English

I am Christian
I am Jewish
I am Muslim
I am Charlie

They use fear
We use words
It’s a war of expression
I am Charlie

By Madelyn Darnell

Sur les bandes dessinées
Sur les murs des marchés juifs
Sur les yeux de Charlie
J’écris ton nom

Sur les crayons blesseés
Sur les rues remplies
Sur tous des visages et voix
J’écris ton nom

Translation to English

On comic strips
On the walls of Jewish markets
On Charlie’s eyes
I write your name

On wounded pencils
On thronged streets
On all faces and voices
I write your name


By Danielle Ozols

Je pleure pour les Français
La liberté de la presse
Elle ne peut pas être oubliée
J’écris ton nom

Je ne m’appelle pas Charlie
Mais je suis Charlie dans mon coeur
Pour les gens de France je suis désolée
J’écris ton nom

Translation to English

I cry for the French people
The freedom of the press
It cannot be forgotten
I write your name

I am not named Charlie
But I am Charlie in my heart
For the people of France I am sorry
I write your name


By Lesa Randall (Instructor)

Sur la beauté de chacun
Sur les sourires échangés
Sur les âmes et coeurs liés
J’écris ton nom

Sur la solidarité
Sur la seule fraternité
Sur la force de l’unité
J’écris ton nom

Translation to English

On the beauty of every human
On smiles exchanged
On linked souls and hearts
I write your name

On solidarity
On the one and only brotherhood
On the power of unity
I write your name

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All content on Infinite Culture, unless noted otherwise, is copyright © 2016 Rafael Otto. All rights reserved.
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