Monday, June 8, 2009


Tour Eiffel, Paris, June 2009

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast."
~ Ernest Hemingway

I've been lucky enough to have toured Paris several times in my life, and I've enjoyed the city on each occasion; however, I have to confess that it's never formed roots in my bones like Jerusalem or Prague or Rome. So, I was surprised that I came to admire Paris and its citizens during my stay and I departed with a new affinity for France's rich culture.

Bookseller along the Seine River

On the morning of my second day in Paris, I found myself up early and unable to sleep any further. I tossed and turned and debated about trying to fall back asleep. I decided against nursing my jet lag and hopped out of bed, determined to see as much of Paris as I could. Since my hotel was a stone's throw from the Louvre, I began my day with a stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries. The early hour allowed for silent wandering which refreshed my spirit.

Monet's Les Nympheas, Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris

I later sat in the room dedicated to Monet's waterlillies at Musee de l'Orangerie. This is not the first time I have beheld Monet's work--having visited his gardens at Giverny and museum exhibits dedicated to his work around the world--but this was the first time I was moved emotionally. I was struck by the sheer size of the paintings so neatly contrasted by the room's white walls and floor. Monet is my mother's favorite artist and I grew up listening to her short lessons on the artist along with viewing his works at her side. The moment was not lost on me that my adult self sat taking in these considerable works in my mum's absence. No postcard or letter can convey the richness of what I saw...though I tried.

Musee d'Orsay, Paris

labyrinthine twists under paned glass
and steeled architecture providing shelter
as she roamed through
and oil
and light
and air
until she rested in front of nature's reveal
and captured it on celluloid
for public viewing back home.

Le Nature se devoilant devant la Science, Ernest Barrias, 1899
(Nature Unveiling Herself To Science)

The city was fresh and cool and perfectly coiffed and stayed.
Frozen but fluid.
Merged and married.
Filled with je ne sais quoi.
And more.

Sacre-Coeur, Paris

and god sat above on a hill
and watched the skirts fly in montmartre
as liquid was exchanged
as easily as money
and souls walked along the shadows of moulin rouge
in search of something --
a need lit in red
and secured by the lust of others.

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