±5 mètres

Madeleine is a contributor for the “Oceans” chapter of ±5 Mètres, a remarkable collection of poetry and nature photography by Joe Bunni. It was distributed by Nicolas Sarkozy to the G20 in Paris, 2012. Read more about the project below, then see the entire book online.

From unesco.org:

Joe Bunni called on 14 writers from all over the world, each of whom wrote a chapter for the book. These poetic, literary and environmentally committed contributions structure the book, each translated in 14 languages*; a child’s drawing graces each chapter.
The publication opens with a preface by Prince Albert of Monaco; it is under the patronage of UNESCO and counts with support from the French Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development, Transportation and Housing. Mr Bunni received the prestigious BBC Veolia prize in the category ‘Wildlife photographer of the year 2011’ for the cover of his book.
The text of Madeleine's poem as it appears in the book:
It was before we knew each other; there were no seasons. I was not restless, and you were not poor. You lived in the West, I, in the east. You had not seen the sun rise, I had not seen it set. And the shore was not a word, nor an idea. I sat for hours on the rocks. You must have been on sand. And the ocean was not dangerous, nor was it a separation from the land. It was a place to dream, to seek, to connect with other sides. It was the beginning of our lives.

Before we knew each other, there was no night or day. There were no raging battles. You were not angry, and I was not afraid. I washed my toes in froth and future. You bathed in warm sprays with salt-shells and song. We vibrated in harmony, somewhere by the sea, of a great echo that lifted the atmosphere, a horizon that only the sky could see. How friendly, patient, never too long!

You must have had reasons to travel, and I, a place in the dark. I loved the shadows and you loved the spark. Now that is how I remember you best. You were eager, and I Zen. Unburdened with reflection, unaware of my dimension, I feel I knew you better then.

Those days are like snow. These days are like salt. Now we reminisce with the tide on a fault. With your heart in my hand, with your hand in my heart, close to ending, close to mending, closer than anything, and oceans apart.

–Madeleine Peyroux