Jean Paul Sartre goes to the Fair


Jean Paul Sartre goes to the Fair



In a city that’s well known as our ‘Gay Pari’

(The “s” isn’t heard if you’re French, as you see),

A philosopher lived not too far from Montmartre

And he went by the name of Monsieur Jean Paul Sartre.


His girlfriend Simone came to see him one day,

She said, ‘Listen, Jean Paul, I’ve something to say;

Enough of this work—you’re in need of some sun,

The fair is in town, let’s go and have fun!’


Jean Paul got his coat and then looked at his shoe,

‘There’s some Iron in the Sole, so that pair won’t do;

I should do some work but I’ll take a Reprieve;

For the sake of my health we can lock up and leave.’


At the fair, Sartre tried at the coconut shy

To win a toy camera, but aimed just too high;

De Beauvoir took snaps, and laughed as she said,

‘My shots are on target, you’re In Camera instead!’


The waltzer came next, but when he had seen

The violent motion, then Jean Paul turned green;

Nausea overtook him. He turned to Simone,

‘I really can’t face it, you ride it alone.’


While waiting, he watched children after their ride,

All dizzy and reeling from side to side;

‘I’m glad I know better and now have attained

A ripe Age of Reason and so have refrained.’


To settle his stomach he was at a loss,

But Simone de Beauvoir bought candy floss.

It attracted The Flies which wasn’t ideal;

As a thing in itself it was only too real.


And then Gypsy Rose’s tent came into view—

A Respectable Prostitute, soothsayer too—

‘Let’s see what she says that our future will hold;

It may be that fortune and fame is foretold.’


They entered the tent and sat down next to Rose

Who said, ‘This is now what my crystal ball shows:

It’s a picture of Being where things are what they’re not,

A Nothingness, too, where they’re not what you’ve got.’


Jean Paul was intrigued but Simone said, ‘It’s clear

We’ve got The Idiot of the Family right here;

This Gypsy would pull the wool over our eyes,

Her claim to tell fortunes is just a disguise.’


They tried to get out, but the No Exit sign

Confused their attempt. The gypsy said, ‘Fine.

You reject what I say, but I promise you’ll see

That your own self-negation will alone set you free.’



They both stumbled out by the way they’d gone there,

Like Men Without Shadows they now felt stripped bare.

‘We went to the fair in good faith,’ said Simone,

‘But I think we had best leave the occult alone.’


‘It’s a valid idea,’ said her boyfriend Jean Paul,

‘That consciousness is the main clue to it all;

And what we create in our minds is the key;

It’s the springboard for action which then makes us free.


‘And what’s more, a day that I thought would be lost

Has brought me a bonus, and that at no cost:

To go to the fair seemed temptation to shirk,

But it’s given me titles for most of my work!’



SRR November 2021

© Sarah Rochelle 2020