I am trying to understand what a part of a French poem, entitled 'Le pouvoir de ma mère', means. The poem is about the writer's mother who is Algerian and speaks the French language in a non-standard way. In the preceding section of the poem, she is talking about how she mispronounces certain French words like 'allocations familiales'. Then she goes on to say this:
‘Les ‘aisselles’ toutes simples/ Toutes familières et physiques celles-là/ Deviennent nucléaires/ À l’orée d’un reportage télévisé fatalement incompris.’ I have no idea what this could mean. What is the mother supposed to have misunderstood?

1 Answer 1


I guess she misunderstood essais nucléaires and came up with aisselles nucléaires instead. France did a series of nuclear tests in Algeria in the 1960s.

  • Thank you. That seems like a sensible solution. Feb 25, 2022 at 13:02
  • The correct interpretation, without any doubt.
    – jlliagre
    Feb 25, 2022 at 13:06

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