As in this Russian tale, where a woman’s words turn into cloth and save the child from the cold, the narrator of Svetlana tells, and hopes to save her husband and son held in the prisons of the Great Commissariat. She prays to Svetlana, the tyrant’s daughter, whom she saw on the news. Only she can help her. Her words run a long thread from the speaker’s mouth to the little girl’s ear. The narrator shouts as softly as possible so that no one else can hear her.
The language that Benoît Reiss deploys has the strength and softness of a taut thread, that of fear and secrecy. Here we are in confidence, sharing the crazy hope of this simple woman, transformed, by dint of poetry, into an almost mystical figure.