Kenavo Avechal Mam-Goz


Kenavo Avechal Mam-Goz: ~ Goodbye, I will see you soon, Old Mother


1 -c'est venu un jour parce que je ne voulais pas écrire de toi,

but the grandmother of someone else-

I read my letter of goodbye to you – a eulogy
Held up by my sisters on both sides
Cried by my mother in the front row
Shaking as my tears won't stop
(I was only ever strong with you)

From the precious fragment of your stunning legacy

that lives on in my brain,

I realize that I will never equal you,

even when my greatest moments come…

Mamie – Mam-Goz – Ma Bro
Le jour de ta mort je n'ai pas pu pleurer

Petite Mamie – Très chère Mamie – Mamie bien-aimé – Je t'aime Mamie – Tu me manque – J'ai peur sans toi - Si peur sans toi Mamie…


Bretagne was a shelter for my weak heart, a shelter with you.
I only have words 
Mamie. I’m so sorry I only have words – you deserve

so much more —
I miss you so much —so much Mamie— I can’t let you go.

C'est toi la Bretagne,

C'est toi mon enfance,

ma force — dormir a côté de toi when I was a little boy

I am a little boy
I don't remember it all – your walks, your walks with me

I can imagine you walking hand in hand with me through Domphos when it was still alive with all those beautiful old trees, the summers, good weather; you sharing your intelligence with me: c'est de toi que ça vient Mamie

J’hérite toujours


You quitting school because your mother died —best student— solving

complicated math in your head — amazing me

T'est si belle Mamie, t'est si belle, si jolie — si gentil envers moi

Mom misses you too Mamie
She’s so sad
She loved you so much Mamie,

I love you too.

I told Edward about you today Mamie – he just couldn't believe —
You and Grandpa

He just lost his «Grand-mom» too Mamie, it made me think of you and how I shouldn't run away

I was in shock that day Mamie – I couldn't cry…
What a life you had—
President Ford must have wondered at you Mamie
Connecticut must have wondered at you

(Et maintenant, toi et Grand-père,
enfin vous êtes ensemble)

I'm so proud of you Mamie
I've never met someone like you:
So strong, chasing me and Nathalie with nettles in your seventies —
Where do I begin?

Beautiful young woman, suitors at your door, and you, only eyes for him—

Toi et Pierre pour toujours Mamie

And then you fell one day
You finally fell — and you started to die
I hope you liked my letter,
I hope you understood.
I cry whenever I talk about you still

Therese is the only one left now Mamie, I promise you I will go see her. You know Soïc is with you now. You saw Louise et Parrain at the door. I should have gone to see Soïc, and regret it now.


Maman made me so proud when she took care of you — I promise you I'll do the same for her – Tu peut compter sur moi Mamie


I write good poetry now Mamie, soon I will make you proud – I promise.


Maman elle a besoin de toi maintenant – she's not so good right now, and I know you see

Our slow promenades vers Domphos-en-trau, down vers les Gorieau and past — so precious to me


Je sais que t'est heureuse Mamie


Your American English was always such a nice contrast to mom's British

I wish I would have asked you more Mamie – more about our family, more about you:

Land given to the church, our house an 11th century little fortress or even older, great-grandmother's line of kings, grandfather champion of Lutte Bretonne, grandfather champion of fencing, prize-winning horses of our family on that painting, you leaving France after the war:

Beautiful bombed out France, no jobs in Bretagne, where you saw the two wars Mamie:

The bombing of Brest, Gestapo in our house, stealing chickens, milk, everything they wanted; and your little-brother in La Résistance, hiding people in the barn; some nice Germans that spoke French, some bad. Mom has a friend now, Ilse, who was in the Hitlerjugend Mamie. I think that’s great Mamie. I know you do too.

I’m happy to write for you Mamie
With the words you and mom gave me.

She told me I would walk behind her up Domphos and rhyme in university French Mamie — Merci à toi et à Maman


I know you missed Maman Mamie. I know that’s why you welcomed Nathalie, I understand. Maman à eu tord, et elle l'à su trop tard Mamie – Tu l'aimais tellement, ta belle et intelligente fille

J'ai pitié pour Marraine maintenant Mamie, elle est toute seule — toute seule sans toi.


I want to tell everyone about your love story Mamie. How beautiful you are in everything Mamie:

Engaged to Grandpa before the war – he went to war, imprisoned in Germany, got sick, and then came back dying, and you married him.

You knew he was gonna die Mamie – you knew – and still you married him. You had Maman, and he died in her 11th month.

You never got remarried Mamie —so beautiful and young, and never had another man— you’re such a rose Mamie;

lying there now in his family grave, next to your one love —60 years of waiting to join him—

Shakespeare never saw it coming…
What a man he must be Mamie, to have someone like you.

You liked blond men with blue eyes. Mom told me that's what you liked about Sweden.

Our name, Rodallec, does it mean curly-haired or does it come from Rodahl —the valley of peace—, maybe Rodahl cause he looked so Scandinavian, didn't he?

I wanna be in your tomb Mamie, whether alone or if I find someone like you Mamie;

I just wanna be next to the two of you Mamie

I cry like Mom Mamie. I don’t know where we got it Mamie, cause you, you were so strong Mamie

It hurt to see you so weak: lying in your bed, thin, emaciated, pale, and few weak words.

I know how much you like Marcel Pagnol. Did you like me reading from his book for you? I know you did, you fell asleep every time, he wrote such beautiful French, didn't he?

I wish I would have done more for you Mamie, wish I would have sat next to you every hour I had left with you.

Remember when we played hide and seek, cache-cache,

dans ton jardin, si immense alors,

et si petit maintenant.


Si Maman vends la maison,

je l'achèterais un jour Mamie.

Je te le jure.


Ton petit fils qui t'aime tellement,




2 -c’est venu un jour quand je pensais à La Mort en écoutant les gwerz bretons, the week of your death, four years later-

J'attends, j'attends,
I am waiting, waiting.

How long will you stand there, lonely, my mother?

How long will you stand there, dans cette robe rouge,

in your long red dress,
lonely, in those clear green fields?
Your eyes fix the break of our ancient sea

You, the soul, our land, the memories of an old kingdom,

You all the mothers of a people, eternal mother,

Old Mother,

Mother of the chants of our heart-thread voice

Heart of our land, and the Celtique song.
A gwerz for you Old Mother.
Breizh Ma Bro.
Four years
Was sixty years ago
and the Germans gone
yet you had to leave
and your little blond daughter
was too young to come

You on the other side of this ocean of our songs

My little mother in the boarding school

Rêvant de toi en pleurant

You dreaming of her while crying too

How many years, how many years did you lose?

How many tear filled nights?
And a whole childhood gone
How will I talk to you again Mamie?
How will you comfort my mother’s crying?

How will you see my sisters as beautiful women?

How will you see me a man one day?
How will you see our children?
And how will we let them know?

How will we let them know what we saw in you?


La couleur de temps perdu, l'honneur,

épanoui comme dans les feuilles rouges

qui se noient dans le blanc de la neige;

Ton sourire

dans les champs d’or emporte en vagues par le vent

C'est toi Mamie, le calme

dans cette tempête qui déchira ma peaux.

My single place of rest.
Anne Marie Rodallec.
Your real name.
You never liked it
when I called you by your maiden name,
You never liked it. It just wasn’t yours,
not for 60 years were you Le Postollec.

Your love, your rock, your Peter, ton Pierre.


Et la belle Bretagne, Ar Mor, ces montagnes, Ar Menez Du

Breizh Ma Bro, Mam-Goz ma bro.

Gortoz a ran, Gortoz a ran.
I am waiting for you

We would come in the night where you stood in the light of the door, Old Mother.

How small am I not without you, Mamie?
Si petit, petit,
ton petit Alex.

À genou à coté de ton lit.


Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the lord is with thee.

Ave María, Ave Maria, grátia plena, Dóminus tecum.

Ton cercueil ne bouge pas dans mes rêves, Mamie.

Your coffin sits so still in my dreams, Mamie.


Je vous salue Marie, pleine de grâce

Notre mere, Notre mere.
The day of your death
I couldn’t cry, Mamie.
You are years away
and I am crying now.

I have walked all the land empty without you.

I have walked there and sang your songs.
I have walked it with you, Old Mother.
I have walked it all lonely, all empty.

I have walked it in dream, and tears, and orphan,

My skin all burning I’ve walked it.

I've knelt at your bed and prayed to a silence

I have ran up the road to see you,
I've walked hand in hand
to hold you.
Kenavo, Kenavo
Avechal Mam-Goz

I have not the words to say it. I have not the heart to say it.

Only in your tongue that I do not speak
Brezhoneg like your heart, Mamie

That I do not have
for it is no more

And what are the stories we've lost, Mam?
What are the stories we've lost?

Of America, Bretagne, Le Finistère,

Pen-ar-Bed, Le bout du monde, La tête du monde,

Et nous tout seuls sans toi, vielle mère,

By the end of the world,
Ar Finis Terra


Glendale and Long Beach, America, February 2008 – May 2009


3 —c’est venu un jour quand j'allais dire au revoir à un ami, and my best tribute is all the confusion I am.


Kenavo Avechal Mam-Goz

Here is your mors inside me Mamie

the noms or l'image

the histoire falls apart with expansion of l'œil

solitude overtourné into the fractal of totale

amor non perpétuelle in tod
und mi name est néant

brilliant after your own pieds-à-terre marks

gwerz an the morbihan mor mer mar meer moor

sea of salty crystals and crustacéen like your brother's throat

smoke erupted there in the years of 1st mors by machinations

you quart here in me erupting

and grande eruption anticipé thiese sommar
at yor hause in my pen in pen-ar-bed

tristan und iseult, lancelot du lac, and sad corpse in bière from our terres

et me too will the cité of Ys bury, fourmillante, but your little son will make the soleil shine blake on the land of breizh and the whole bed,

mam-goz, granny, mutti, mormor, abuela, vuela, vuela

här finds avec me one starry black and white bird, gwenadu

gwen y the du of son absence, mamie, face me vedere chiaro

que non me destruit come thu. amour, amour, mamie the nuiachtes et les djours sans you smoke away from les embers of dourless going.

alors march we supra la route donfos igen.

human i stan y piedra ton père inthrough mitt blod

iye afgan fume in i stan in garaget, mon bagage de forget me not men iyag might have hadd and will habe the lenguage de tous les terres in corpus meum

come back and absolve min dette für thee, old mother.

these is the marreage of all farchments of hear and tungue

Kenavo Avechal Mam-Goz

thee et papa plantes in yor jarden the fleuwers of allwhere

et the naissance of exile de swede reich no goth im himmel des wolf

hispaniola my condition sans its absence av absence no ultima exile

para identité para life para lust para nada in the shift shape morphologique

of escrivturing im neuweau lenguage. mein lenguage. für thein honär, Mamie,

Kenavo Avechal Mam-Goz

in freische audial signes üver the mountes negrias!


Jordan Urbanovich’s apartment, Long Beach, America March 30th, 2010


Text: Alex Rodallec