RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS ON A PARK, ON AN ISLAND, BY THE RIVER, IN PARIS

 

 

I slipped off to the edge of the city, this morning,

where the stream found a stillness 

and the air a crispness that kept confusion at a distance

 

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I stood beneath the bridge that took the traffic

and its tension far from me

and found the swimming swan

rising higher in the stream, 

the follow on from the floods that now seem so far

with these skies of blue, speaks of colour

in a park, on a Friday, in February,

where an artist once came to paint

 

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A park, in Paris, on a island, by the Seine 

where the waters wash with colour

when you look beyond the shadows

a new rise basking in the glory of what was once regarded

as great, by those who regarded the value of greatness 

 

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Straight and tall,

shiny structures shoot up, like soldiers, by a stream

ever in movement, ever following the route,

today’s design will be tomorrow’s sign of an age 

the river has outrun

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I see trees

towering tall in waters, once rising, now falling,

still strong, still weathering the storm, 

still willing to be remembered, like an artist captures beauty,

captured beauty,

in a park, once, on a Sunday

in a time since parted

 

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Nature is not in our control,

nature is willing to withstand all our wilfulness,

will not drown in these days of destruction,

will not worry, as we do, will not bend 

but will let life flow around it,

in hope, in harmony

 

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In a park, on a Friday,

on an island, by the river,

in jogging shoes and sweatpants,

I ran through days already distanced

and tried to make connections

between the road winding onwards

and the trees rising upwards, like the water, rushing onwards

like time, ever at play with its participants,

with all that it connects

 

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With benches for the breathless to recapture breaths

and wheels

to help us follow the stream

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And in the windows,

I saw reflections

of those towering trees, never to be forgotten,

blue of sky in the beauty of light, light and harmony,

colour and shade,

captured in what is new, a hint of what knows

the bounty of age

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And on the river, by the park, on a Friday, in Paris,

I stopped and saw my reflection

in the gentle waters 

and in the waters saw colour,

colour and light,

by a boat,

in a park,

in a city ever changing,

where an artist came to capture it all

on a Sunday, a simple Sunday. not a Friday but a Sunday,

searching for something between the shadow and light,

between all that will fade and all

that cannot be fazed. 

 

Over a series of Sundays, in this park, on this island, in Paris, Georges Seurat painted Un Dimanche apres-midi a l’ile de la Grande Jatte. Stephen Sondheim later brought life to the characters within the painting and connections to the artist who died before the world recognised the talent he poured over his canvases in the musical Sunday in the Park with Georges. A few years go I wrote this poem on my first exploration of this little island, less green and more concrete now than in his day, but still with dots of colour and light and harmony…

Georges.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, a simple park

on a Sunday, in the summer.

Colour,

he painted colour 

in that park; clear, considered

untainted, untampered

colour, 

specs of colour,

rays of light 

in a park 

on a Sunday, in the summer 

in a season of details, in a salon of specifics

under demands to consolidate, co-operate. 

Colour,

he saw colour,

a canvas of light and colour,

a carnival of colour.

Colour,

he saw colour 

in a park, on people,

simple people, working people, 

fishing people, fidgeting people

not polished people, not posh people.

They buried him

in a park,

another park, 

a quieter park 

but still with light and colour.

They buried him 

and then they buried his son 

and then another,

life and death, 

father and sons,

children and art,

children or art but only art survived.

He saw colour 

on a Sunday, in a park, on an island, in Paris, 

to the left of it’s center 

and there he made a difference.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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8 thoughts on “RUNNING THROUGH THOUGHTS ON A PARK, ON AN ISLAND, BY THE RIVER, IN PARIS

  1. merrildsmith

    “Move on. . .” Such a beautiful experience–Friday in the Park with Damien. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and these beautiful photos of the park.

    I think you had commented once on a post I wrote about how the park had changed. I wonder what Seurat would do with it now? It is still beautiful, and the colors are so brilliant. It looks much more spring like there than it is here.

    1. deuxiemepeau

      ‘Move on…’ indeed- it was ringing through my ears!! ‘Stop worrying what you’re doing…’
      As I was uploading the photos I thought I should add a few words for each and had a very Merril’s Monday musing moment as it developed! So thank you!

      There are still dots of magic to be found all around the island even if at times it has an air of Stepford (wives) about it with perfect tennis courts, perfect little houses costing a perfect little packet. Even the house boats are more bourgeoise than boho but, as I said, there are spaces still of colour and light where the harmony still resides on any day of the week.
      It might look like spring but it freezes like winter- another snow fall on the way next week with arctic winds dropping the temps down to -7!! Thermal underwear at the ready 😂😂🤗🤗

      1. merrildsmith

        Hahaha. You’re welcome, Damien! I had a lovely stroll with you.
        Now I’m thinking you should write a horror novel or spoof about Stepford Wives at the Island of La Grande Jatte. 🙂
        Stay warm! It’s just dreary here today. Cool and drizzly.

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