At Doorstep

Image: ©️ Gislain

Author: Gislain

Standing eyes to eyes

Hooked fingers

Tension that rises

Hugging strangers

With heart that cries

Brain off – just lovers

Arms hang on thee

Keeping tight the other

Close to the body

Closer than ever

Closer they could be

Harder they have ever

Heart pulsing the pressure

Beating out the time

For a song or a measure

For a poem or a rhyme

To get a last taste of pleasure

Of an instant so sublime

Don’t know what to feel

Apart the heartache 

Not made out of steel

And can easily break

Not afraid to leave for real

Just afraid to stay for fake

Paper, Pencils and Pleasantries: an Interview with Enrico from the Stationary Store

Enrico surrounded by his colorful products inside the stationary store

Image: © Chloé Gédet

Authors: Chloé Gédet, Öznur Nizam

Ever wondered what goes on inside Unil’s stationary store? Well we went to find Enrico in his colorful little shop, and he graciously accepted to answer a few questions for us. Read on to learn about Enrico’s everyday life and you’ll never pass by his store without saying hello again! [version française en-dessous]

Can you introduce yourself and say a few words about your job?

My name is Enrico. I’ve always worked in mechanics, and now I’m here because I found this job for my wife, it’s her professional field.

For how many years have you been working in the University of Lausanne, and how did you end up here?

It has been 15-16 years. I took this job with my wife and now that we’re retired, we keep working here because we enjoy it, we want to be in contact with people, rather than being confined at home. 

What does the usual workday look like? 

In general, my wife comes in the morning and, as a sleeper, I come between 10:00 and 12:00. Then we wait for people to come and go. But there’s very few people coming now.

Since when did you notice that?

Since we closed for a year due to Covid-19. Even with the reopening there’s less students around, because lots of them still study at home. Besides, students are now used to working without paper, without supplies. 

What do you sell the most?

Everything and anything, we sell everything that is useful in a university. Some things go faster than others, but it’s hard to say which ones, and it changes over time. For example, we used to bind books a lot, because the Reprographie only made copies and we bound them. But now they’re making copies that are already bound…

That could be interesting to some students! Do you still do bindings?

We still do, but very few. But we have plastic or metal spiral bindings of all sizes, and we also make glued bindings. And it’s cheaper than in other shops in the city (because, you know, sometimes we check the market prices).

What are the advantages of working here?

It’s a good way to spend time and to have some human interaction, I’ve always liked that. Some students come just to have a coffee and chat, because they can tell I also enjoy having a talk. It’s something that has always been part of my life: I’ve coached football teams, trained apprentices when I was working as a mechanic, … This desire to socialize is something that comes back.

So you like students? They are polite and respectful to you?

Students are generally decent with us, sometimes someone will be [pause; probably meaning “a bit unpleasant”], but it’s rare. In principle, when you’re decent to someone they repay you. 

What are some disadvantages of your job?

There aren’t. I mean, the margins we make are really thin, so as long as we’re working here and don’t need the money to live, it’s going to continue. But if someone comes here after us, they’ll be younger and they’ll need a decent salary, because my wife and I never took a proper salary. So if it doesn’t make enough money, sooner or later the shop will have to shut down, that’s how it goes… But as for us, we’re happy here.

So you’re thinking about leaving?

Yes, my wife and I are thinking about working for a few more months and then we might put up an offer… Then instead of spending our time here, we’ll be able to travel around for 3 or 4 days at a time, see a city and then another. In the end, you can meet people just as well when travelling.

How did COVID impact you personally?

It impacted me like everyone else. Having to stay home, you learn to stay inside. And now it’s nice to be back and to see people again!

I agree! Finally, is there something you’d like to say to students?

You have to study if you want to get somewhere, today even a university degree is not always enough. You have to constantly challenge yourself. For example, when I was working [as a mechanic], every time there was something new, I’d go and take an evening class, because you can’t do things you know nothing about. That’s why I think the most important thing is to have solid bases in life, and then question yourself whenever it’s necessary.

Thanks a lot, it was a pleasure talking to you!

Enrico laughing lightly

Image: © Chloé Gédet

ORIGINAL FRANÇAIS:

T’es-tu déjà demandé.e ce qui se passe dans la papeterie de l’Unil? Et bien, nous sommes allées trouver Enrico dans son petit magasin plein de couleurs, et il a accepté de répondre à quelques questions pour nous. Continue de lire pour en savoir plus sur son quotidien, et tu ne passeras plus jamais devant sa boutique sans le saluer!

Pouvez-vous vous présenter et dire quelques mots à votre sujet ? 

Mon nom c’est Enrico. J’ai toujours travaillé dans la mécanique, et maintenant je suis là parce que j’ai trouvé ce travail pour ma femme, c’est son domaine à elle. 

Depuis combien de temps travaillez-vous à l’Université de Lausanne, et comment êtes-vous arrivé ici ?

Ça fait 15-16 ans. On avait pris ce travail ensemble, ma femme et moi, et maintenant qu’on est à la retraite on l’a gardé parce qu’on aime ça, on aime pas rester enfermés à la maison, on a envie de rester en contact avec les gens. 

A quoi ressemble votre journée de travail habituellement ?

En général ma femme vient le matin et moi qui suis dormeur je viens vers 10-12h. Après on attend que les gens viennent et puis qu’ils s’en aillent. Mais actuellement il y a très peu de monde. 

Depuis quand avez-vous remarqué qu’il y a moins de monde ? 

Depuis que ça a fermé pendant une année à cause du covid. Même avec la réouverture il y a beaucoup moins d’étudiants, il y en a encore beaucoup qui travaillent à la maison. Et puis maintenant ils sont habitués à travailler sans papier, sans matériel. 

Quel est le produit que vous vendez le plus?

Tout et n’importe quoi, tout ce qui est utile à l’université. Il y a des choses qui partent plus vite mais c’est difficile à dire lesquelles, et ça change avec le temps. Par exemple on faisait beaucoup de reliures ici avant, parce que la reprographie faisait que des copies et nous on faisait les reliures. Mais maintenant ils font des copies déjà reliées… 

Ça pourrait intéresser certain.e.s étudiant.e.s de savoir ça ! Vous faites toujours des reliures ?

On en fait encore quelques-unes, très très peu. Mais on a des reliures en spirales plastique ou métal de toutes les tailles, et on fait aussi des reliures collées, et c’est moins cher qu’en ville (parce que de temps en temps on se renseigne sur les prix du marché).

Quels sont les avantages de votre travail ici ?

C’est un bon passe-temps pour avoir un contact humain, moi j’ai toujours aimé ça. Il y a des étudiants qui viennent juste pour parler en prenant un café parce qu’ils voient que j’aime bien le contact. C’est quelque chose qui a toujours été présent dans ma vie : j’ai entraîné des équipes de football, j’ai eu des apprentis quand je travaillais, cette envie de sociabiliser c’est quelque chose qui revient. 

Donc vous appréciez les étudiants et les étudiantes ? Ils et elles sont polies et respectueuses avec vous ?

Les étudiants, ils sont assez corrects avec nous, de temps en temps il y a quelqu’un de [pause; signifiant probablement “un peu désagréable”], mais c’est rare. En principe, quand on est correct avec les gens ils nous le rendent.

Quels sont les désavantages de votre travail ici ?

Il y en a pas. Après les marges sont très petites, donc tant que c’est nous qui sommes là et qu’on vit pas de ça, ça va continuer. Mais si quelqu’un reprend ce sera des personnes un peu plus jeunes et il leur faudra une paye, parce que ma femme et moi on a jamais pris une vraie paye. Si le volume de caisse est trop bas, tôt ou tard ils seront destinés à fermer, parce que c’est comme ça… Mais nous on est contents ici.

Vous pensez donc à arrêter?

Oui, avec ma femme on pense travailler encore quelques mois et après peut-être qu’on mettra une annonce [pour trouver quelqu’un d’autre] … Après au lieu de passer le temps à la papeterie on pourra faire des petits voyages de 3-4 jours, voir une ville quelques jours puis une autre. Au final en voyageant on voit du monde la même chose.

Comment le COVID vous a-t-il affecté personnellement ?

Il m’a affecté comme tout le monde. Devoir rester à la maison, on apprend à rester enfermé. Et maintenant ça fait plaisir de retourner au travail et de voir du monde ! 

Je suis d’accord ! Finalement, avez-vous un message pour les étudiants et les étudiantes ?

Il faut étudier, si vous voulez arriver à quelque chose de nos jours même un diplôme universitaire c’est pas toujours suffisant. Il faut se remettre en question continuellement dans la vie. Moi par exemple quand je travaillais [comme mécanicien], chaque fois qu’il y avait des nouveautés j’allais faire des cours du soir, parce qu’on peut pas faire des choses quand on les connaît pas. C’est pour ça que je dis que l’important c’est d’avoir des bases très solides dans la vie et après se remettre une question à chaque fois que c’est nécessaire. 

Merci beaucoup, c’était un plaisir de parler avec vous !

A Poppy Field

Image: ©️ BarbeeAnne – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Inspired by “The Poppy Field” by Nora May French

I know of a place, just beyond a poppy field, where I sometimes go to sing my songs. It’s quite close from your house, yet so very far away from you. When I go there, I usually sit near the streams, between the sad lilies (they keep their heads down, toward the ground) and I think about which words I should use. I have to carefully choose which words I will write or sing, because not all of them seem to reach your house, beyond the red tangled barrier of poppies. I’ll tell you something I don’t think you know: in my little book, now resting on the slightly wet grass, there are hundreds of words, and in the breeze flowing along the stream, there are even more, and there are still even more unspoken words inside my mind. I don’t think you know this, because in your mailbox, in front of your house, beyond the poppies, there are at best a few dozens of my words, and in your mind, which I feel is very far away from me, I think there are even less of my words. And perhaps, if I know that your house is close to me, yet I can’t see or feel you anymore, it’s because it’s not your house anymore, and you never told me you moved out. And sometimes I tell myself that you did not move out: it’s just that I can’t see you through all the knotted poppies. And if there are so few of my words in your mind, maybe it’s not because you never read what’s in your mailbox, but because so many times I didn’t dare go through the poppy field to put my words in your mailbox. Many times I tried to walk to it, but the wind blew from your house and through the poppy field, and I found myself in a quiet, hypnotic haze, and in this fog I thought I could see you next to your home. You should know that when I see you in these dreams, I can never bring myself to unwind the tangled poppies and make myself a way to you. Now you know why your mailbox needed to be empty for months before welcoming some of my words, and why lately no words came at all. I was simply sitting by the stream, between the sad lilies. Sometimes I wish you had left your house and helped me cut, burn, or untangle the poppy field, but was it even your task to do so? I’m not even sure you knew how potent these poppies were, and how a single step into them would throw me inside this stupor that kept me away from you for so long, and that will probably keep doing so. I could take care of the poppy field myself, but why should I do it? As I already said, I’m pretty sure you moved out of your house long ago, and that behind the field I would only find a rusted, empty mailbox. Besides, I don’t think you realize how afraid I am of discovering what lies beneath the poppy field. I already have an idea: under the poppy field is a graveyard, a graveyard containing all the words I could never bring all the way to your mailbox, all the words that ran along the stream until they got caught into this web of poppies, never to reach your ears. I’ll never know if you understand how much that hurts me to know that I had so much to say, but that I could only tell you so few words, as the rest of it was buried under the poppies. Now every time I go to this place again, I wish I had broken the golden vow while you still lived in your house, so that I could have told you everything I wanted to. But it seems like it’s just wishful thinking, and now the best thing I can do is hope that my decomposing words, resting under the poppy field, serve as a fertilizer for new, beautiful flowers. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see them if you ever pass by your old house. 

Factfulness: A Book That Gave Me Hope

Image: “Hans Rosling”© mihi_tr. Source – CC License

Author: Katharina Schwarck

My dad had read Hans Rosling’s book several months ago, had really enjoyed it and would recommend it to me on regular basis. I did not take him up on that offer very quickly. What he was telling me about the book sounded really interesting but I had already 33 books on my to-read-shelf on goodreads, so what’s a girl supposed to do. One day this summer, however, I found myself on a train trip with said book and, for some reason that is still obscure to me today, I was more interested in reading that than the five novels I carry with me at all times (never be underbooked!). And so, I started reading Swedish doctor Hans Rosling’s Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – And Why Things Are Better than You Think, a book that gave me hope. Now, if you were asked how many people in this world have some access to electricity, what would your estimate be? 20%? 50%? My guess was around those numbers. According to the data used by Hans Rosling, it is 80%. I was impressed. When Rosling asks his readers whether they believe that in the past 20 years the proportion of the world living in extreme poverty has a) almost doubled, b) remained more or less the same, or c) almost halved, I was convinced the number of people living in extreme poverty must have grown over the past years. Surprise: the number has almost halved. Interestingly, politicians, doctors, diplomates, a gigantic number of people whom Hans Rosling asked these questions, all answered the same as me: wrong, and on top of that; incredibly pessimistic. Spoilers: that is exactly what Factfulnessdeals with: if everything is so much better than we think, then why do we think it? If you’re a Zillenial like me, or any sane person really, you probably don’t enjoy watching the news and you probably don’t have a lot of faith in humanity left. There is war, people are starving while others die of obesity, people still get killed for their skin colour and there’s the one that shall not be named that is making us feel like everything we do is in vain anyway: cLiMaTe ChAnGe. So much fun. That is where Hans Rosling steps in. He says “wait, guys, no, no, look back. We have come such a long way, don’t give up now.” I think yeah, sure, Hans, when I watched the news last night everything seemed so great. Absolutely. No, no. Everything is really much better than before. Remember how extreme poverty was almost halved in only two decades? Now we might say “yeah, but Hans, that means there is still extreme poverty out there”. Yes, but that means that something is working. It means that something is working and if we analyse what we’ve done correctly, we can keep doing what has been working so well and hopefully halve it a second time as soon as possible. Alright. To be completely honest with you, I often feel guilty for thinking that things are going well when there’s still so much to do and I’m sitting on my privileged Western high horse. “But what’s the use in feeling frustrated about a future that isn’t yet defined when we can look back at the past, be proud of it, learn from it, and keep going?” You’re right, Hans. I feel a bit better now. “And that thing about climate change… Fear and guilt will paralyse you, they won’t save the world. Take your time and look at the data. Look at what works. Educate yourself and keep going. Nothing is as urgent as your fear makes you think.” Thank you, Hans. That sounds really nice… The “Negativity Instinct”, the “Fear Instinct” and many other fears and instincts are deconstructed in Factulness. All of the chapters aim towards analysing our fears and then dissolving them, while giving us concrete tools on how to analyse situations better and act better in them, based on Rosling’s personal experiences as a doctor, as well as more general events that we have experienced as humanity. Sounds pretty nice, eh? I enjoyed it. But really, you should read it yourself, see what Hans has to say. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I’m just a girl with too many books on her to-read list who’s writing a book review…

The Collected Songs of Honest Shores

Image: © H.S

Author: H.S

These poems were written nineteen-hundred years ago on the rocks, trees, and Temple walls of Switzerland’s Jura Mountain, then under Roman occupation.

The poet was Honest Shores, a pagan hermit who begged for food at temples, lectured in the streets and often sang and drank with goatherds in the forested mountains.

Little is known about his life, except that he lived in relative poverty, despite having an education. He might have lived for a time as a tutor in a middle-sized Roman city, as he seems to understand societal ills that assailed the Roman Empire, even during its Golden Age (Cf. “Pax Romana”). However, all of this is speculations taken from the poems themselves.

This new translation of his work, despite being incomplete (This collection only including twenty poems, even though some sources suggest he wrote a thousand) significantly revises and updates the poems for a modern audience. Be not shocked if you see references to modern technology and problems, as the translator took some liberties to adapt old roman references for more contemporary counterparts.

Although he was educated, Honest Shores was derided at the time for using colloquial and vulgar forms of Latin in his poems. This suggests that, although he derided morals of his time, he never took himself too seriously. Likewise, the translator used an idiom that is clear, graceful, and neutral enough to last nineteen-hundred years more.

1

I’m lifting my drink

“The ancient generations

Sowed and Reaped

Until the soil became acidic

Then, they pierced the crust

Extracting the blood

Until the caverns collapsed

Now they send cars into space

Burning metric tons of fuel

The worst is

They lived peacefully

Enjoying the fruits of their labour

But us? We will live to see

The Earth becoming Venus

And with the sky filled with blood and smoke

The ocean licking my mat

And the woods burning

I will receive a message

From my manager that says:

‘Damn that’s crazy… Can you come in though?

We’re short-staffed tonight.’

So here it is

To the UMURANGI Generation!

The generation

That has to watch the world die!”

2

A lone boar

Amongst the woods of Neuchâtel

His fur, dull enough

Attracts no hunters

But healthy enough

So he attracts mates

Compared to others

His stature is small

But he hides in the bushes so well

Never the fighter

He is rather weak

But his tusks are sharp

So others don’t bother fighting him

Living his whole life

Unremarkable, unnoticed

Only when he dies

One may see the jewel

That was inside him

3

The marionette

Wanted to be a real boy

Without realizing that

His incarnation

Would not cut his strings

Even if it did

He would not move anymore

4

Those who pray

Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha

From whence did they come?

Some say “God”

Others say “Dieu”

Others still

Say “Allah”

Those are only words

Vibrations of air

Written names

On blank sheets

Absent of meaning

They’re helpful without being useful

To think them useful

Is to consider

The pointing finger

As the moon

5

Empty woods, no one in sight

Yet hear! The jingle of bells

From deep… Over there!

Filtered by the trees

The slant rays

Shine once more

And the sheep

Bell on his collar

Looks – inquisitive –

At his grass

That became golden

6

So young yet

One of my friends is getting married

He asks me

“When will you marry?”

I ask him

“When will you divorce?”

We both laugh for a different reason

Him: Because I am behind

Me: Because he is in front!

7

My dream house

Has a room

Turned into a library

Hundreds of books on each shelf

An old leather chair

Plants! As numerous as books

The light of the evening

And the wind

Filtered by the evergreen forest

Thus I will travel

Without ever leaving home

8

I settle for a studio

Lone in the empty city

Like the tailor bird

Were it to have the whole grove

It would settle on a single branch

9

Alone on its branch

The crow sings

Watching the people

The cold wind:

The only one who caresses him

10

The hermit drops by

Bringing drunkenness

At the same instant

That the welcomed notifications

Make the dusk for two

An evening for ten!

11

In the deep forest

An Oak sings

In the wind

But solitary

No one hears his song

12

Under the willows

Of the lake

A beautiful rock

Perfect for building

A palace

A temple

Or a hut

Forsaken by all

Caressed by the waves

At least it shelters mice

13

From below

The canopy seems ablaze

The autumn sunset

Makes redheads of us all

14

Without an effort

The duckling

Let itself go up and down

With the movement of the waves

15

To each tool its usefulness

The Lamborghini

Cannot park

Where the lil’ Twingo

Simply can

16

Wanting everything 

Doing everything

Experimenting

By experiencing all things

Zip gets done

A wave when it breaks

Added nothing to the sea

17

“Learn to code”

“When will you get your license?”

“Put some money on the side”

“Learn a new language”

“Take care of your mental health”

“Take care of your body’s health”

It is hard to make a ball

With dry sand

18

Reap the day!

Savour the instant!

Carped Diem!

If you only think about reaping

You’ll forget to sow

And end up with a wasteland

19

If you chase

Money, followers, wisdom

By gesticulating wildly

You’ll exhaust yourself

But see how

The branch most idle

Is the seat of many birds

20

In your library

You should have:

No Bible

No Qur’an

No Sutras

Rather than this poppycock

You’re much better off with my poems

Feel free to flash them up on your screen

And read them from time to time

Staff Members’ Christmas Wishlists

Author: Leah Didisheim

For this year’s issue, we asked our dearest staff members for their Christmas wishlist and they kindly agreed to take the time during this stressful period to write their wishes down. So, (drumroll please!) here are their deepest desires revealed here and only here just for you! And thanks to their generosity, you can appreciate the best baby pictures they have of themselves. Without further ado, let’s read about our favourite teachers from another angle!

Kevin Curran:

1. The chance to relive my youth! (But this time with friends and without living in my parents’ basement until the age of 35.)

2. An opportunity to explain myself, properly, about that “incident” in Las Vegas, which I think has been misinterpreted and blown way out of proportion.

3. Further to above: My dignity back

4. A statue of me, erected in a public place, that says something to the effect of “He Was Right After All.” Nothing too fancy. Just a little larger than life-size. Not embossed in gold or anything like that. Marble will do. Perhaps in a Grecian pose?

5. A written apology from all those who have wronged me. You know who you are! I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOUR BETRAYALS AND YOUR . . . [is hastily bundled out of the room by men in white coats]

Kirsten Stirling:


1. Some research time

2. A direct wormhole to New York

3. The complete collection of Moomin mugs

4. Another date with James McAvoy




Anita Auer:




1. Heaps of snow

2. A little red riding hood cape to go with the dress

3. A time machine to listen to all the different dialects in the history of English

4. A date with Poldark





Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet:

1. Necromantic superpowers

2. A one-way ticket to Ibiza

3. Dinner with Edgar Allan Poe

4. A magic mushroom home-growing kit




Benjamin Pickford:

1. An invisible, immaterial bookcase, which would hold all my library without taking up any actual space in my apartment, but still hold actual books and not electronic files

2. A complete set of the OED, all 20 volumes, to go on that bookcase

3. Fluency in French, German, and Italian, instantly

4. A year’s supply of Branston Pickle (this can be an ongoing Christmas request, I could never have too much Branston on hand)

5. A pub crawl with Karl Marx, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Friedrich Nietzsche, though I’m not sure that any of them were notorious boozers (maybe it would be more fun with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, and Mark Twain…)

To A Poetess

Image: ©️ Myriams-Fotos – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Your brightness leaves me awestruck

Overt charm against bad luck

Upheaval found in wonder

Magic that mutes the thunder

Amazement born from great light

Kindness adorns all you write

Every drop of reverence

Instilled by your luminance

Tints the world with solar gleams

Blesses it with graceful beams

Evergreen inspiration

Throws me in admiration 

Trusted poetess you should know

Earth herself with her faint glow

Relies on you to make it grow

Andres’ Poems

Image: ©️ Andres Stadelmann

Author: Andres Stadelmann

Shampoo

I spent several hours looking at that door
In silence
My mind racing in every direction, but my body still.
Waiting, hoping
It cried out to the silence, begging it to respond
Instead it lingered, there, by the door
An old memory of a long-forgotten friend
The door responded in its stead
Alive—it shook and cracked and gaped its wide and loud mouth
Whispering, slow at first, then whistling ever louder until its scream, cut
   by the sudden grasp of the
handle, rang my eardrums.
The intruder, not yet half a man, wore that kind of awkward expression
   meant to display a weak show of
embarrassment all while betraying the narcissistic pride lying
   underneath
The decisive ones were the ones who played with the silence
Those that opened and closed the door
Those who let it rattle unabated, begging for attention
Without knowing, me, sitting alone in that silence was the biggest
   offering I could have made
The silence meant everything all of a sudden.
And I, as a part of it, took greater meaning as well
There was no greater way of loving her, than sitting alone in that
   silence
And so it would take off,
whispering tentatively to the floorboards,
swaying gently in the rafters,
leaning by the entrance,
and I with it, transfixed, and yet in constant motion
There are those who go to the batting cage and crack their bats until
   the silence overtakes them all, and
there are those who cower in fear in the company of endless and
   mindless chatter
But the silence persists nonetheless, molded by your heart in its barely
   motionless chambers
It’s so loud you can hear it, pounding in your ears and extending to they
   very end of all your extremities
It’s so soft that to hear it you have to listen very carefully
To truly hear it
In that silence I cried.
Silent teardrops filled with noise
That rolled off my face into the awaited abyss.
And as my still body began to move
It called out my name

Tío

Oh Dani did I cry for you
Such eyes I had not seen

Memory does strange things to time
Of that blurred still when you attempted to cross the world in an instant
   on your broom (you must miss
hurting your knees now)
Sportive drive pick-ups
A crack in exchange for a smile
The virgin hairs on your cheekbones
But your final words
Impressed
Seem a lifetime away
I look at my garden
Grown over with weeds
And I’m aching with that loss
To put dirt on my hands
Of toiling to cultivate, bleeding and sore
With a seed of trust
Some good to invest
And you’re still running on that beach

If only I could fill pages
As quickly as I spilt tears

C’è

Anna you were beautiful
Like everything on that day
And you made that greeting, to me
And that smile
And your profile picture
That day I realized that you don’t go to a wedding alone as a bride,
   for the groom
But as a friend, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, child, woman
And all this was true
For that secure hand
For those enchanted voices
And for the gaze of the one who stood beside you
It would be trite to call it love
Almost reductive
But for a glance
That outside in that stable someone cultivated for the first time
Yesterday you witnessed
And today
I expect nothing else

Lucie

Remember when I said I was alone?
That happened again today
And when I was sitting there,
Just looking at my screen
I thought

When I consider that
A million miles away
Someone visiting a foreign country
Reminiscing about long lost friends
I find myself on a train
Looking out the window

A memory of some time
Passed with people
Whose names and faces I recollect
But who was I?
And why should I recall?

When not thinking
But only feeling
That one beat
Calls my name

I wait

And close my eyes
Or perhaps I close my eyes and wait

But regardless


I go back to sleep

The Caveman’s Shadow

Image: ©️ Manuel Ferrazzo

Author: Manuel Ferrazzo

My pain loves me more than you ever will,
She understands me like nobody else,
And when my blood drips for her she pales,
She knows that, for her, my hands could just kill.

She cuts my chest open to rip my heart,
Out of the hole which now stands here empty.
I can’t feel anything so I am free,
Hope ends where with undying love I start.

I wouldn’t want her to be my enemy,
I want her to be less scared of me,
I want her to understand and witness.

Witness my shame and my sorrow for her,
She will finally see me in her fur,
And decay shall be voice of weakness.

Clear Graveyard

Image: ©️ rkarkowski – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Marina Silietti

I saw the sun the other night 

I didn’t think we’d meet again 

I assumed it was far away 

Far away from me 

For a second 

I believed I’d feel it again 

The wide stream of emotions 

But I didn’t 

Instead

I felt a relief 

Seemed like heaven 

Until I understood that the stream 

Reached the moon 

Fading at its finest 

Breathing at its brightest 

I dreamed about the moon that night 

Until the dawn came back 

And I thought about the moon that day 

The stream was complete 

And I couldn’t escape its curves 

Even if I wanted to 

The moon and the sun belonged to somebody else 

I couldn’t see their light beams 

They were far away 

Far away from me 

Clear Graveyard! Give me a break!

Take me away 

And let me face the bliss 

The infinity 

The immortality 

Far away from their volcanoes

Finite and deadly volcanoes 

Clear Graveyard! Walk away! 

Take me home 

Back to where I belong 

Turn me into 

Your dissolving dust 

Back into what I am 

Nothing! 

The Rain

Image: ©️ Unsplash – Graham Ruttan (@gramdaman) – License

Author: Sébastien Milcé

Raindrops are hitting the roof, creating a nostalgic music, an atypical and changing rhythm. As if the clouds are changing moods, aggressive fury, restful quietude, dancing joy.

You loved the rain.

You loved desserts, word plays, sunbathes at the beach, cocktails and cats.

I loved everything you loved, and I thought it was enough.

Yes, you loved a lot of things, but I wasn’t a part of it.

For a long time, I wondered what I was doing wrong to be unworthy of your love. It seemed to me that I was the most attentive, the most motivated, the gentlest. Yet, the first day’s passion was fatally replaced by the fear of hurting someone you considered as sympathetic. But love is blind, and what was clearly a unilateral relationship was emerging in my head as an idyllic romance.

So, I didn’t see that I was stifling you, I didn’t understand why you were so cold when I was trying to offer my heart, I didn’t interpret the signals indicating that we were going downhill.

Maybe you think that I was being naïve, but your presence used to be enough to ease every one of my sorrows. I was under your hold, you controlled me; your words seemed holy, your actions seemed heroic, your requests became my obsession. Ultimately, nothing was impossible when it came to you, I would have blown down a mountain if you asked me to.

But it was this upward force that, paradoxically, pushed our relationship towards the abyss of failed loves. You wanted the “me” of the beginning, the one who was not under your spell, the one who used to act like he didn’t want you. At the end of the day, giving you attention meant losing you. And the first time I looked at you with passion, you looked at me with disgust.

You had your problems that you would have shared for nothing in the world, because with me, you’ve never been vulnerable. Never, despite the weight of you sorrows, you saw me as trustworthy. And I realized just now that our intimacy didn’t expand outside the sheets of the bed. 

I asked myself what I was doing wrong, and it came to me. It wasn’t something that I had done, nor something I hadn’t done. You just wanted someone I wasn’t.

What I had to give wasn’t in line with what you were asking for, it wasn’t too much, it wasn’t too little, it just wasn’t it.

The hatred that I used to carry against you when you ended my fantasy, was in reality badly directed. It was against the resentment of this relationship that I kept this visceral hatred: despite all my efforts, I didn’t succeed in impacting your life like I wanted to. And it was this feeling, the impression of being a man among the crowd, to be a transition towards happier days, this very feeling that kept me up at night. Maybe I wasn’t the man of your dreams, but I sadly realized that I wasn’t the exceptional man I thought I was. And this reflection has the power to shatter one’s self-confidence to its foundation.

I’m mad at myself. Mad to have used so much energy in vain, mad to have put myself through emotional danger for someone who was explicitly pushing me out of their life.

As time goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to remember the good memories. You never confided, you never lowered the wall you built between us, you never showed who you are. 

I don’t hate you.

I simply don’t know you.

You were just a stranger who used to love listening to the rain in my arms.

Funniest Post-COVID-19 Reactions & Thoughts!

Image: ©️ Alexas_Fotos – Pixabay License. Source.

In celebration of returning to our academic and social lives in person (hopefully for good this time), MUSE sent out a form inviting UNIL students to share the most surprising, funny and strange thoughts and reactions they have experienced ever since Coronavirus barged into our lives uninvited. Every response was entertaining to read and much appreciated by your favorite student magazine. Don’t forget to grab your popcorn and enjoy!

Me coming to university on the first day like:

OH mY gOd there are PEOPLE here

When my workplace changed their sanitizer brand, my first thought was “Cool! I’m looking forward to trying the new one!”. And then I realised how excited I was for something that’s genuinely very unexciting.

I get offended when people don’t want to hug me because of Covid, lol.

It’s always a weird experience meeting new people and then seeing them for the first time without the mask. I always try to guess what their full face looks like, but I get surprised every time.

The two things I fear the most are : wasps, and Zoom meetings with camera on and mic unmuted.

Even though I’ve been studying at UNIL for 6 years, the first time I took the lift again to go to the ground floor, I pressed the button “0”… and ended up in the basement.

Whenever I watch a movie or TV show and there are bars and club scenes I feel so weirded out, like where are their masks and why are they standing so close to each other? And then I remember that these shows and movies were released before Covid, hahaha.

Well, I guess waking up and getting out of bed is a thing now!

Coming back to uni in September and recognizing other students from Zoom – i.e., knowing in some cases their first AND last names – and still being way too shy to go say hi in real life.

I was in the metro one day when ticket controllers came in, and for a solid ten seconds, I had no idea if I had to show my travel card or my Covid certificate…

I’ve got to say, there’s at least one positive thing about wearing a mask during lectures: if I answer a question wrong, no one can see my embarrassment.

Then again, if a lecturer smiles or something, I feel like I have to exaggerate all of my facial movements and expressions to be understood. Is it possible to make your eyes… smiley?

Recently, I was standing in a crowd and looking for my friends and I could not remember how I used to handle crowds before and find people in them.

During the first days of this semester, I sat in the cafeteria and everything felt so different and I tried to remember what my lunch breaks used to be like (who I used to eat with, what I’d eat, when I’d have my breaks) and I could not remember Lunch Breaks BC™️ (Before Covid) for the life of me!

On the first day back to uni, the metro was so crowded I nearly had anxiety, haha, and I decided to change my route to come to uni. So, now I don’t take the metro anymore to come to uni.

When I used to leave my place, I always made sure I took with me my phone, wallet and keys. Now mask and ID are on the list. I sometimes still manage to forget them both and run back and get them. You can’t go anywhere without them anymore, it’s crazy. It’s like leaving the house without pants!

Everytime I see a shop in movies or a TV show, I’ll be mad at them all for not wearing masks, until I realise that it’s well over 2 years old…

I forgot what it was like to be in class in person again… Like you can actually sit next to people, talk to them and all which is really exciting when you first think about it. And then you run into people you wish you could avoid and try to master the skills of doing so. But all in all, it still feels great to be back.

I don’t think Covid is finished yet because there are still many restrictions and over 1000 cases most days.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Long ago

Image: ©️ Creative Commons -“Storm” by Daniel R Thompson – License

Author: Lisa Ziegert

Long ago, my fire stopped burning.

A big dark storm started raging,

Everything falling and flying.

A darkness, in my heart, growing.

Sadness started taking over,

Loneliness is my new lover,

I want it all to be over

But letting go I can never.

Whatever I do, feeling lost.

Staying alive, an endless fight.

Always trying to find some light

But I don’t know if it’s worth the cost.

Long ago, my fire stopped burning.

Long ago, dark thoughts appearing. 

Long ago, wills of life fleeing.

Long ago, I started dying.

Dear Felicity – a Literary Advice Column

 Image: “Hanas Helpline” by DrJohnBullas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These literary characters have reached out to MUSE’s agony aunt, Felicity, asking for her help. Can you guess who they are?

Dear Felicity,

I have been unsuccessfully looking for love. I want a girlfriend but I think there’s nobody like me in the world. I would love her for all her flaws and imperfections. My father left me after my birth. I have recently found him again but he finds me ugly and he says no one will ever love me the way I am. I even have asked him to help me get a girlfriend but it’s out of the question for him. I have so much love to give but I don’t know what to do anymore. What else can I do?      

Yearning for love

Dear Yearning,

Your father sounds like a very unhealthy person. He may be your father, but you are by no means obligated to stay in his life if he isn’t doing you any good. You are worth it and beautiful just the way you are, and somewhere out there, there is someone looking for you. Don’t give up!

Dear Felicity,

I just got married! I am really excited: he is loving, handsome, rich – a dream! My problem is, since the day we got married and I moved in with him, he seems cold and does not show any affection. I have been trying to distract myself but his housekeeper keeps reminding me of his late wife. I have started to think he is still in love with her! What should I do about it?

A discouraged bride

Dear Discouraged,

First of all, no one should compare you to another woman. If your husband’s housekeeper has a problem working for you, raise the problem to your husband – she should respect you. Second of all, from what you’re describing it seems like your husband loves you and really wanted to marry you. Maybe something else is on his mind and he is not ready to open up about it yet. Show him that you’re there for him and share your limits and boundaries. Good luck!

Dear Felicity,

I’ve just been expelled from school. I know I should care, but I feel like everybody is so fake, so I don’t. I’m struggling to make good decisions and I always seem to fail saying the right thing to people who do care about me. I don’t like many things. I make big decisions lightly, knowing I wouldn’t go through with them anyway. I’m scared my parents will never be proud of me. Can you help me?

        An overwhelmed boy

Dear Overwhelmed,

It isn’t easy growing up and knowing what you want. Remember that nobody has got it figured out. Do more of what makes you happy, keep exploring. Take your time to process information; nobody is rushing you. Your parents are there for you and I’m sure that if you share your worries with them, they will happily help you make sense of what you’re going through. Take your time to breathe!

Dear Felicity,

I have been spending a lot of time with a man recently. He is coaching me so I can get a better job. I’ve been making great efforts and helping him with so many things, but he has never even praised or thanked me! But I keep telling myself that somewhere between all his bitterness must lie kindness, and I keep pursuing recognition from him. Also, he tells me if I leave, I will go back to my old job and never succeed. I’m afraid I won’t make it on my own. What am I supposed to do?

                                                                                                                      A torn girl

Dear Torn,

I hear you: it is hard to let someone go if you believe there is good in everyone. But, someone who disrespects you is not worth your time: spend time with people who treat you right. If you are not ready to give up on his coaching just yet, try to set yourself a limit of how far you are willing to go, or how long you are willing to stay without recognition. Plus, from what I’m hearing, you have made a great deal of progress and I am sure you can make it without him. Take care of yourself, you’ve got this!

Fireflies Temple


Image:
© Timon Musy

Author: Timon Musy

On the ceiling of a thin plastered cheekbone

03:00 a.m. probably not a Thursday

Fades the shaded reflection of a dim, buzzing streetlamp

On the irises of a non-sleeping amnesiac


“Sing in turn, tomorrow’s a blackout away”

He seems to scream inside his head

Lips half opened

Humming the sound of a dead lightbulb

On the flowing beat of the insomniac cars

That exist but to this only purpose

To give the illusion  a whole world revolves around a center of entropy


The man, is he

The sum of anything that could be

Facing a wall

Sitting as a drunken or erased Buddha

Thinking in spite of all its emptiness

Could that be a man

It could try to be first


A thin crack warns

From it will disappear in a thousand, three hundred and fifty-two years

Mind, wood, and the temple that contains them


Felt it something once it could have been pain

Love

Hatred or indifference pondered in the presence of another pain

Love

Hatred or indifference


Suddenly, a blackout, out of time all clocks considered

Quartz, copper, photon, sun through death sentence

In the harshness of a cold, unwelcoming bed

A tomorrow is sought

Though it is feared, that other self it always brings

The oblivion it shares

The indecency it sweats

The so it is now it imposes


On the sound of a first rain drop

No one is there

On the noise of the flood

All waits and looks, will someone open that door, will someone talk

Of the hive full of smoke, of the other so different


Facing a wall, behind a door, dimly lit by the reflection of a streetlamp on the ceiling

Wondering why the moon and the birds chase each other

Or if the blackout really has to end

Blinding as it is

In all the consistence it possesses


The drunken spoke once: “I heard of a sick medic”

Next thing we know he fainted

Nobody rose him up

He may still be lying there right now

Inflated with water and disillusions

What he meant was never understood


In a small crack on a wall

A train station where people leave but never arrive

Electricity jolts in the wires

As it coughs in a handkerchief the beat of a heart

That exists but to this only purpose


Drowned in a cold bed occupied by a single person

Whose eyes buried in the wrinkles of an unrested trunk

Enlightened by the loss of those who live

Awaits the blackout

Hoping for it to never end

But knowing well that tomorrow is at the window

Bringing oblivion

Until the amnesiac falls again on the head