31 March 2010

Au coin de la rue du conseil et rue sans souci

Someone made this:

And a little bit to the right of that, there is another stone that says this:

But what's the last word in the phrase with "douceur des mots devenus ..." Is it dérons? débons? ???? And what does it mean?


  1. It's démons, isn't it? "Douceur des mots devenus démons" A poet's lament, I think! It conveys to me the moment when words become just sounds to you, when the Yousuck Monster rears its head and you think, why am I wasting my time on this?

    I've been trying to translate it in my head, but "sweet poison of words" is the only thing that pops up, and it's not a great translation.

  2. Google says:
    Gentle words become demons

  3. Google's translation skills leave much to be desired. Why would it translate a noun as an adjective? And a past participle as a present tense?

    The most literal translation would probably be something like "The sweetness of words that have become demons." (Yes, could be gentleness as well, but I think "douceur" conveys the idea of "sweet" more strongly.)

    It's an instance of how French can be more poetic than English: look at all the words the writer left out! Jeannette, time for a poet to weigh in.