Le mantra de la souris ~ Le chat hurle, tournant la nuit à éclats.
Le cri du lapin est agonie. Le hurlement de chien: le désespoir avant la chasse commence. Le fromage est la vie. Silence est un succès.
If you don’t happen to speak French, all of that was seriously classy stuff (thanks Eddie). I met this old-school Parisian mouse named François Begnaud du Moule (Noblesse d’épée) in London last year… here’s how it happened. You see, I visited this old fashioned cocktail bar in Soho called the Bourne & Hollingsworth where they served drinks in marmalade jars. I was going to see a stage-play about letters between two German friends set in WWII, one Jewish and one… not so much. Their kinship was predictably torn asunder… but that happened later in the night. Before that, I met François. My companion had just ducked off to the bathrooms to power her nose¹ and, in the blink of an eye, there’s François on the table before me.
I don’t even think he expected us to be there, we were drinking so early in the day². I could immediately sense his nobility, the natural power and ageless knowledge borne of generations of cultured living. In mouse circles, that is exceptionally rare… the generations bit, I mean. Mice families don’t tend to do generations – French cats aren’t slow to a free supper any more than their masters. So: I saw in François something rare and wond’rous – so we talked.
I told him about Australian mice, and mice that live on the moon (pretty clever if you ask me) and, in a moment of deep mutual respect, he gifted me this very sacred text, this mantra of the mice – his birth-right and personal prayer. I was deeply honoured – and with all due permission, I choose to share it with you here today:
The mantra of the mouse ~ The cat howls, turning the night to shards.
The rabbit’s scream is agony. The dog’s howl: despair before the hunt even begins. Cheese is life. Silence is success.
I recall every detail of the moment he shared this mantra; the high yet rich cadence of his little voice, the way he stood n the dusty, stained table top, the way the light fell into this basement level lounge, the way he leaned lazily against my ‘French 75′. I recall next that I looked away briefly, to simply breathe and commit this historic moment to memory – I saw my companion returning. This chevalier des âges, this guerrier des mondes moins, this souris chez les hommes… I glanced away but briefly, looked back to make the introduction… and he was gone.
Silence is success, he told me. Salut, François! Que votre fromage être jamais moisi.
¹ Yes power, not powder. See: I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006)
² The bar staff seemed pretty shocked. It was after midday.