PARDON MY FRENCH
by Anton Wills-Eve
I had to write about the word ‘grain’
PARDON MY FRENCH
in France quite a lot of people eat
‘un grain de blė’, as we say, wheat.
many more on ‘grain d’orge” gorge,
that is barleycorn, at mill or forge.
but medically ‘grains d’orge’ mean
seeds in joints which can’t be seen.
in ‘grains de moutarde, ou de grenade’,
‘mustard or pomegranate seed’ is had.
to speak really posh, refined, you say
‘le bon grain finit toujours par lever’.
meaning quality always rises to the top.
‘la récolte de blé’ is grain’s harvest crop.
‘un entrepôt des grains’ we call a granary
‘un poulet de grain’, a corn fed chick for me.
‘être en grain’ pigs love all the world over
it simply means to find oneself in clover.
‘un grain de café‘ is a brown coffee bean
‘un grain de poivre’, a pepper corn green.
‘un grain de raisin’ is a grape, pip, the lot.
‘un grain de beauté’ a patch or beauty spot.
‘un grain de poussière is a speck of dust
for a grain of salt ‘un grain de sel’ is a must.
if physics in science, however, turns you on
‘un grain d’électricté‘ is just one electron.
‘avoir son grain’ tells us he’s drunk in his bed
and ‘il a un grain’ means he’s gone off his head.
‘côté grain de cuir’ is leather’s grainy side too
‘gros grain’ is coarse, or pock marks, a few.
‘ruban gros grain’ is the rough side of photographs
‘temps à grain’, a sea squall, does not bring laughs.
there are so many variations of using ‘grain’ that we
avoid getting soaked by rain in a ‘fort grain de pluie’,
or being blown off the road and then onto the grass
by a strong gust of wind that’s called a ‘grainasse’.
but from nice folk we might ‘en prendre de la grain’,
benefit from their example, or simply ‘casser le grain’
that’s just eating as much as we think that we’ll need
until we all ‘monter en grain’, that means run to seed.