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Ce que les montagnes m'ont appris: What the mountains taught me

I spent three months in Grenoble, the capital of the French Alps. One of my intentions during my time studying abroad was to explore the constants in life — the things that would remain even as everything around me changed. I wrote this poem on my last evening in France, as I reflected on what I had learned from the places, people, and moments that I encountered.


ce que les montagnes m’ont appris

les montagnes restent immobiles

elles embrassent notre petite ville

dans une chanson constante et douce

voici ce qu’elles disent:

on ne change pas.

on est ici 

quand il pleut

quand il neige

quand le vent souffle les feuilles des arbres

on est ici

on est ici 

quand tu es esseulé

quand tu es entouré

quand tu marches la nuit et oublies qu’on existe

on est ici


tu marcheras dans la vie

et même si tout autour de toi change— 

même si tu laisses tout ce que tu as connu

tu découvriras 

qu’on ne change pas. 


what the mountains taught me


the mountains stand still

they embrace our little city

in a constant and quiet song


this is what they say— 


we don’t change

we are here

when it rains

when it snows

when the wind blows the leaves from the trees

we are here


we are here

when you are lonely

when you are surrounded

when you walk in the night and forget we exist

we are here


you will walk through life

and even in everything around you changes— 

even if you leave everything you’ve ever known

you will find

that we don’t change

Natalie Martyn studied abroad in Grenoble, France, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University. Visit her website here:

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