Poems are souvenirs
of France vacation


Photo art and poetry by Mo Conlan

One of my most memorable vacations was a trip to France with friends, a sister and niece. We stayed in a French village in a French house. (It was one of the hottest summers in history in France, but the thick walls helped keep the house cool.) Below are two poems I wrote. Vacation poems don't necessarily aspire to be great literature, but they make great souvenirs.

Venturing forth…
Time to go adventuring.
Time to go with boon companions
on adventures across the sea.
To leave awhile that interior sea
with its sirens and monsters.
To see grand sights ~
the crumbling chateau at Fountainebleu.
The Eiffel Tower of Babar and Celeste.
To listen to voices in another tongue
and to try my schoolgirl French.
To find that, mostly,
people mean no harm,
wish to help
are kind to a fellow adventurer
as they go on their own daily adventures –
French parents steering children
through sweltering streets,
the artist who keeps shop
to sell the pots he makes
in colors of Provence --
blue, spring green,
butter yellow, flame orange.
The taxi driver, Frederic,
with his own business --
and proud of it -- ferrying
travelers to and from the airport.
The woman who takes
the 50 centimes for using
the toilet -- her long Gallic
face framed by dark,
lank hair, a face like
Madame duFarge.

Seeing Monet at the L’Orangerie ~

So this is what I have come for,
after the Disneyland crowds
baked in the heat of the Eiffel Tower
and the infernal heat of the bateau on the Seine,
the 97 degrees of the Champs d’Elysees in deep July.
The disrupted trains, the missing our stop.
All the discombobulation.
To stand as in a cathedral in front of Monet’s “La Nympheas” (Waterlilies)
to see how he laid the paint on in layers of water blue and garden green,
just a flick of cream for a flower…
How the lines of the water weave into the lines of the lily pads.
How the trunk of a tree serpents its way into the scene.
How everything flows into the other.
Painting joy – or life itself?
We are hushed as we stand before the message he left us,
bathe in its colors, are baptized in its waters.

After France vacation, return to home page.