Le temps de pénitence: Remembering the Swiftness of Time

As a young teacher I once invited members of a pétanque club to teach my students how to play the game (a bowling sport similar to Italian bocce). One of the two members who came was an elderly Swiss man who gave me an envelope containing two poems he'd typed. We never met again, but I cherished his gift until after his death. When I think of the importance of intentional living, I think of this poem written by René Seghetini. (The English translations are mine.)

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Le temps de pénitence René Seghetini.png


The time of penitence

Since the time

when I’ve waited for time

to have time

to take my time

to go forward

without ever stepping back

nor ever protesting

and only yearning

to advance further,

do you want to live a long time

go there slowly

that’s what’s important

and then certainly,

my Mother told me,

blinded by the light

of the ruin of the times

you will be a hundred years old.

and now that I have time

I am still not content.


Do you have any poems that speak to you? Which of its lines have echoed in your mind over time? Are the words in your heart language?