courage (5) simon johannin

Author text
Simon Johannin courage

In these troubled times, we asked a number of authors we admire what ‘courage’ means to them. In the coming weeks, you can read their answers here, in the form of a poem, a memory, an anecdote or a more philosophical reflection.

Courage is a form of innocence.

There’s faith and there’s courage. Bravery and carelessness.

I’ve never had much courage. Whenever there’s the threat of danger, my body trembles and my muscles grow hollow to mediate the fear.

When it comes down to it I don't think I’d be able to defend myself. When cars arrive I stay motionless, lost in their headlights.

Whenever there are waves, I sink, looking at the sun’s rays as they penetrate the surface.

Stretched out on the sea bed I wait, in the hope of discovering other planets.

If there’s one thing I can grasp it’s that courage doesn’t always lay itself out where you expect it.

Courage is feeling the knots in your stomach twist like rags when you talk to your mother about your own life.

Poverty is much more courageous than weapons. Children are courageous to grow up in a world that doesn’t wait for them. Dogs are courageous to still love us.

The girl who, in these streets emptied of life, still walks at all costs towards her own, is courageous.

The courage to cry when friends have died, the courage to expose the wounds of sorrow in order to sow other seeds.

The one who, having pieced together little bits of our courage, calls out and makes voices say no. The one who moves silently towards a pain they know to be inevitable.

But the more fear dominates, the more a sense of courage appears. If we rise up, the things we fear will make us beautiful. Our fears bring us to life when there’s no other choice but to overcome.

To gain in courage you have to gain in fear, because those who have never known fear are mad. If to ignore danger is show it your ribs then, in my fear, upright and immobile, I may not be aware but I am already facing it. Take courage.

Translated from the French by Daniella Shreir

Born in 1993 in the South of France, Simon Johannin created a buzz in 2017 with his first novel, L’Été des charognes (ed. Allia). His latest novels and poetry collections are Nino dans la nuit and Nous sommes maintenant nos êtres chers.

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